In a previous work it has been demonstrated that micro-Raman spectroscopy is a technique able to recognize crystalline phases on untreated samples. In that case, inorganic particles and uncoated fibers from bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of a patient affected by pneumoconiosis were identified and characterized. In this work the technique is applied to asbestos bodies, that is, to coated fibers, and on crystallizations and fibrous phases observed in the plural plaque from patients affected by mesothelioma. From the Raman analysis the abundant fibrous material observed in the pleural area is talc, whereas rounded grains in the pleural tissue show the Raman spectrum of apatite, a calcium phosphate mineral particular to bones. In the pulmonary tissue many asbestos bodies, consisting of the incorporated fibers coated by iron-rich proteins, were observed. Under the 632.8 nm laser beam of the spectrometer, photo-crystallization of hematite in the iron-rich material forming the asbestos bodies can be proposed by the changes in the Raman spectra acquired during subsequent acquisitions. Nevertheless, the identification of the mineral phase constituting the incorporated fiber was possible by analyzing the Raman spectra; the results were confirmed by variable pressure scanning electron microscopy with annexed energy dispersive spectroscopy (VP-SEM-EDS) analyses.

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