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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2008 Dec;22(23):3883-92. doi: 10.1002/rcm.3772.

Optimization of automated gas sample collection and isotope ratio mass spectrometric analysis of delta(13)C of CO(2) in air.

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Institute of Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich, Universitaetstrasse 2, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


The application of (13)C/(12)C in ecosystem-scale tracer models for CO(2) in air requires accurate measurements of the mixing ratios and stable isotope ratios of CO(2). To increase measurement reliability and data intercomparability, as well as to shorten analysis times, we have improved an existing field sampling setup with portable air sampling units and developed a laboratory setup for the analysis of the delta(13)C of CO(2) in air by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). The changes consist of (a) optimization of sample and standard gas flow paths, (b) additional software configuration, and (c) automation of liquid nitrogen refilling for the cryogenic trap. We achieved a precision better than 0.1 per thousand and an accuracy of 0.11 +/- 0.04 per thousand for the measurement of delta(13)C of CO(2) in air and unattended operation of measurement sequences up to 12 h.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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