Effect of infrared light on live blood cells: Role of β-carotene

Surekha Barkur, Aseefhali Bankapur, Santhosh Chidangil, Deepak Mathur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We have utilized Raman tweezers to measure and assign micro-Raman spectra of optically trapped, live red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. Various types of WBCs– both granulocytes, lymphocytes, and their different types have been studied. The Raman bands are assigned to different biomolecules of blood cells. The Raman spectra thus obtained has been enabled detection of β-carotene in these blood cells, the spectral features of which act as a signature that facilitates experimental probing of the effect of 785 nm laser light on different blood cells as a function of incident laser power in the mW range. The spectral changes that we obtain upon laser irradiation indicate that, both haemoglobin as well as the cell membrane sustains damage. In case of lymphocytes and platelets the peaks corresponding to β-carotene showed drastic changes. Thorough analysis of the spectral changes indicates possibility of free radical induced damage of β-carotene in lymphocytes and platelets. Among different blood cells, RBCs have a power threshold of only 10 mW. The power threshold for other types of blood cells is somewhat higher, but always below about 30 mW. These values are likely to serve as useful guides for Raman tweezers based experiments on live cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-116
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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