Get access

Evaluating uncertainty in the calculation of non-exchangeable hydrogen fractions within organic materials

Authors

  • Lesley A. Chesson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biology Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    2. IsoForensics Inc., 423 Wakara Way Suite 205, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA
    • Department of Biology, University of Utah, 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David W. Podlesak,

    1. Biology Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    2. IsoForensics Inc., 423 Wakara Way Suite 205, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thure E. Cerling,

    1. Biology Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    2. IsoForensics Inc., 423 Wakara Way Suite 205, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA
    3. Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • James R. Ehleringer

    1. Biology Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    2. IsoForensics Inc., 423 Wakara Way Suite 205, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

We calculated the fraction of exchangeable hydrogen atoms in proteinaceous materials commonly analyzed for stable isotopic composition related to the region-of-origin of an animal. These included several types of α- and β-keratin, and muscle tissue. We find that the fraction of H atoms in keratin available for exchange at a biologically relevant temperature (25°C) averaged 9% across a range of ground organic materials, but was as high as ∼17% in cut hair; muscle tissue has ∼12% exchangeable H atoms. Under most analysis conditions, the difference in exchangeable fractions due to physical sample processing has a minimal effect on the calculated δ2H values of the non-exchangeable H atoms within a keratin-containing tissue (<2‰). However, extreme mismatches between sample and reference material types could affect δ2H values. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary