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Grass Material as a Modern Process Standard for 14C Analysis of n-Alkanes

  • L M Cisneros-Dozal (a1), X Xu (a2), C Bryant (a1), E J Pearson (a3) and J A J Dungait (a4)...


One of the difficulties in reporting accurate radiocarbon results from compound-specific radiocarbon analysis (CSRA) is the lack of suitable process standard materials to correct for the amount and 14C content of carbon added during extensive sample processing. We evaluated the use of n-alkanes extracted from modern grass material (1.224±0.006 fraction modern) as process standards for CSRA. The n-alkanes were isolated using preparative capillary gas chromatography (PCGC) from two independent chemical extraction methods applied to the grass. Since this was our first assessment of the 14C content of the grass n-alkanes, we corrected for extraneous carbon derived from PCGC isolation using commercially available single compounds of modern and 14C-free content. Results were consistent across the two extraction methods showing that the C29 n-alkane has a fraction modern value that is within 1σ of the bulk value of the grass while C31 n-alkane and less abundant n-alkanes have values within 2σ of the bulk value of the grass. C29 and C31 n-alkanes were the most abundant n-alkanes in the grass and, as such, the more feasible for collection of sufficient amounts of carbon for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) analysis. Our results suggest that choosing a grass n-alkane with an elution time closest to that of the unknowns may be advisable due to possibly greater effect from GC column bleed (14C-free) at later elution times. We conclude that C29 and C31 n-alkanes in modern grass of known 14C content can be used as in-house standards to correct for the addition of 14C-free carbon during sample preparation for 14C analysis of n-alkanes.


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Grass Material as a Modern Process Standard for 14C Analysis of n-Alkanes

  • L M Cisneros-Dozal (a1), X Xu (a2), C Bryant (a1), E J Pearson (a3) and J A J Dungait (a4)...


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