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Improved method for isotopic and quantitative analysis of dissolved inorganic carbon in natural water samples

Abstract : We present here an improved and reliable method for measuring the concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and its isotope composition (delta C-13(DIC) in natural water samples. Our apparatus, a gas chromatograph coupled to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (GCIRMS), runs in a quasi-automated mode and is able to analyze about 50 water samples per day. The whole procedure (sample preparation, CO2(g)-CO2(aq) equilibration time and GCIRMS analysis) requires 2 days. It consists of injecting an aliquot of water into a H3PO4-loaded and He-flushed 12 mL glass tube. The H3PO4 reacts with the water and converts the DIC into aqueous and gaseous CO2. After a CO2(g)-CO2(aq) equilibration time of between 15 and 24 h, a portion of the headspace gas (mainly CO2+He) is introduced into the GCIRMS, to measure the carbon isotope ratio of the released CO2(g), from which the delta C-13(DIC) is determined via a calibration procedure. For standard solutions with DIC concentrations ranging from 1 to 25 mmol (.) L-1 and solution volume of 1 mL (high DIC concentration samples) or 5 mL (low DIC concentration samples), delta C-13(DIC) Values are determined with a precision (1 sigma) better than 0.1 parts per thousand. Compared with previously published headspace equilibration methods, the major improvement presented here is the development of a calibration procedure which takes the carbon isotope fractionation associated with the CO2(g)-CO2(aq) partition into account: the set of standard solutions and samples has to be prepared and analyzed with the same 'gas/liquid' and 'H3PO4/water' volume ratios. A set of natural water samples (lake, river and hydrothermal springs) was analyzed to demonstrate the utility of this new method. Copyright
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Submitted on : Friday, July 3, 2020 - 11:36:08 AM
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Nelly Assayag, Karine Rive, Magali Ader, Didier Jézéquel, Pierre Agrinier. Improved method for isotopic and quantitative analysis of dissolved inorganic carbon in natural water samples. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Wiley, 2006, 20 (15), pp.2243-2251. ⟨10.1002/rcm.2585⟩. ⟨insu-02888699⟩

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