Simultaneous δ15N, δ13C and δ34S measurements of low-biomass samples using a technically advanced high sensitivity elemental analyzer connected to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer
Article first published online: 8 OCT 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume 23, Issue 21, pages 3387–3393, 15 November 2009
How to Cite
Hansen, T., Burmeister, A. and Sommer, U. (2009), Simultaneous δ15N, δ13C and δ34S measurements of low-biomass samples using a technically advanced high sensitivity elemental analyzer connected to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., 23: 3387–3393. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4267
- Issue published online: 8 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 8 OCT 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 25 AUG 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 AUG 2009
- Manuscript Received: 15 MAY 2009
Conventional simultaneous CNS stable isotope abundance measurements of solid samples usually require high sample amounts, up to 1 mg carbon, to achieve exact analytical results. This rarely used application is often impaired by high C:S element ratios when organic samples are analyzed and problems such as incomplete conversion into sulphur dioxide occur during analysis. We introduce, as a technical innovation, a high sensitivity elemental analyzer coupled to a conventional isotope ratio mass spectrometer, with which CNS-stable isotope ratios can be determined simultaneously in samples with low carbon content (<40 µg C corresponding to ∼100 µg dry weight). The system includes downsized reactors, a temperature program-controlled gas chromatography (GC) column and a cryogenic trap to collect small amounts of sulphur dioxide. This modified application allows for highly sensitive measurements in a fully automated operation with standard deviations better than ±0.47‰ for δ15N and δ34S and ±0.12‰ for δ13C (n = 127). Samples collected from one sampling site in a Baltic fjord within a short time period were measured with the new system to get a first impression of triple stable isotope signatures. The results confirm the potential of using δ34S as a stable isotope tracer in combination with δ15N and δ13C measurements to improve discrimination of food sources in aquatic food webs. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.