Molecular origin of the Raman signal from Aspergillus nidulans conidia and observation of fluorescence vibrational structure at room temperature

Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 25;10(1):5428. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62112-w.


Successful approaches to identification and/or biological characterization of fungal specimens through Raman spectroscopy may require the determination of the molecular origin of the Raman response as well as its separation from the background fluorescence. The presence of fluorescence can interfere with Raman detection and is virtually impossible to avoid. Fluorescence leads to a multiplicity of problems: one is noise, while another is "fake" spectral structure that can easily be confused for spontaneous Raman peaks. One solution for these problems is Shifted Excitation Raman Difference Spectroscopy (SERDS), in which a tunable light source generates two spectra with different excitation frequencies in order to eliminate fluorescence from the measured signal. We combine a SERDS technique with genetic breeding of mutant populations and demonstrate that the Raman signal from Aspergillus nidulans conidia originates in pigment molecules within the cell wall. In addition, we observe unambiguous vibrational fine-structure in the fluorescence response at room temperature. We hypothesize that the vibrational fine-structure in the fluorescence results from the formation of flexible, long-lived molecular cages in the bio-polymer matrix of the cell wall that partially shield target molecules from the immediate environment and also constrain their degrees of freedom.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus nidulans / metabolism*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / physiology*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / physiology
  • Fluorescence
  • Pigments, Biological / metabolism
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / methods
  • Spores, Fungal / physiology
  • Temperature


  • Pigments, Biological