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

  • Susan Q Lang (a1) (a2), Cameron P McIntyre (a3) (a4), Stefano M Bernasconi (a1), Gretchen L Früh-Green (a1), Britta M Voss (a5) (a6), Timothy I Eglinton (a1) and Lukas Wacker (a3)...

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.

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  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
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