Examination of Amber and Related Materials by NMR Spectroscopy

Magn Reson Chem. 2015 Jan;53(1):2-8. doi: 10.1002/mrc.4121. Epub 2014 Aug 31.


Examination of the solid-state (13)C and solution (1)H NMR spectra of fossilized resins (ambers) has generated five groupings of materials based on spectral characteristics. The worldwide Group A is associated with the botanical family of the Araucariaceae. The worldwide Group B is associated with the Dipterocarpaceae. Baltic amber or succinite (Group C) is related to Group A but with a disputed conifer source. Amber from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa is associated with the Fabaceae, the genus Hymenaea in particular. The minor Group E contains the rare fossil polystyrene. The spectra of jet indicate that it is a coal-like material with a rank between lignite and sub-bituminous coal.

Keywords: amber; copal; jet; paleobotany; plant exudates; resins.