Prediction of alkaline earth elements in bone remains by near infrared spectroscopy

Talanta. 2017 Jan 1:162:428-434. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2016.10.071. Epub 2016 Oct 19.


An innovative methodological approach has been developed for the prediction of the mineral element composition of bone remains. It is based on the use of Fourier Transform Near Infrared (FT-NIR) diffuse reflectance measurements. The method permits a fast, cheap and green analytical way, to understand post-mortem degradation of bones caused by the environment conditions on different skeletal parts and to select the best preserved bone samples. Samples, from the Late Roman Necropolis of Virgen de la Misericordia street and En Gil street located in Valencia (Spain), were employed to test the proposed approach being determined calcium, magnesium and strontium in bone remains and sediments. Coefficients of determination obtained between predicted values and reference ones for Ca, Mg and Sr were 90.4, 97.3 and 97.4, with residual predictive deviation of 3.2, 5.3 and 2.3, respectively, and relative root mean square error of prediction between 10% and 37%. Results obtained evidenced that NIR spectra combined with statistical analysis can help to predict bone mineral profiles suitable to evaluate bone diagenesis.

Keywords: Alkaline earth elements; Buried bones; Diagenesis; Multivariate statistics; NIR; Soil.

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones / chemistry*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Fossils*
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / analysis
  • Metals, Alkaline Earth / analysis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spain
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared / methods*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*
  • Strontium / analysis


  • Metals, Alkaline Earth
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Strontium