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Rapid 14C Analysis of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Non-Saline Waters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2016

Susan Q Lang
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Cameron P McIntyre
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland Current address: Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, Glasgow, Scotland
Stefano M Bernasconi
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Gretchen L Früh-Green
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Britta M Voss
Affiliation:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Department of Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Timothy I Eglinton
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Lukas Wacker
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

The radiocarbon content of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in rivers, lakes, and other non-saline waters can provide valuable information on carbon cycling dynamics in the environment. DOC is typically prepared for 14C analysis by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) either by ultraviolet (UV) oxidation or by freeze-drying and sealed tube combustion. We present here a new method for the rapid analysis of 14C of DOC using wet chemical oxidation (WCO) and automated headspace sampling of CO2. The approach is an adaption of recently developed methods using aqueous persulfate oxidant to determine the δ13C of DOC in non-saline water samples and the 14C content of volatile organic acids. One advantage of the current method over UV oxidation is higher throughput: 22 samples and 10 processing standards can be prepared in one day and analyzed in a second day, allowing a full suite of 14C processing standards and blanks to be run in conjunction with samples. A second advantage is that there is less potential for cross-contamination between samples.

Type
Research Article
Information
Radiocarbon , Volume 58 , Issue 3 , September 2016 , pp. 505 - 515
Copyright
© 2016 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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