Tips and traps in the 14C bio-AMS preparation laboratory

Buchholz, B. A., Freeman, S. P.H.T. , Haack, K. W. and Vogel, J. S. (2000) Tips and traps in the 14C bio-AMS preparation laboratory. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 172(1-4), pp. 404-408. (doi:10.1016/S0168-583X(00)00142-7)

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Maintaining a contamination free sample preparation lab for biological 14C AMS requires the same or more diligence as a radiocarbon dating prep lab. Isotope ratios of materials routinely range over 4–8 orders of magnitude in a single experiment, dosing solutions contain thousands of DPM and gels used to separate proteins possess 14C ratios of 1 amol 14C/mg C. Radiocarbon contamination is a legacy of earlier tracer work in most biological laboratories, even if they were never hot labs. Removable surface contamination can be found and monitored using swipes. Contamination can be found on any surface routinely touched: door knobs, light switches, drawer handles, water faucets. In general, all surfaces routinely touched need to be covered with paper, foil or plastic that can be changed frequently. Shared air supplies can also present problems by distributing hot aerosols throughout a building. Aerosols can be monitored for 14C content using graphitized coal or fullerene soot mixed with metal powder as an absorber. The monitors can be set out in work spaces for 1–2 weeks and measured by AMS with regular samples. Frequent air changes help minimize aerosol contamination in many cases. Cross-contamination of samples can be minimized by using disposable plastic or glassware in the prep lab, isolating samples from the air when possible and using positive displacement pipettors.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Freeman, Professor Stewart
Authors: Buchholz, B. A., Freeman, S. P.H.T., Haack, K. W., and Vogel, J. S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
ISSN (Online):1872-9584

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