The effect of storage on the radiocarbon, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures and concentrations of riverine DOM

Gulliver, P. , Waldron, S. , Scott, E.M. and Bryant, C. (2010) The effect of storage on the radiocarbon, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures and concentrations of riverine DOM. Radiocarbon, 52(3), pp. 1113-1122.

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Chemical preservatives (e.g. mercuric chloride) are routinely added to freshwater samples to prevent biological activity compromising the isotopic signature of dissolved organic matter (DOM) with time. However, alternative preservation methods are needed due to regulations restricting the use of preservatives with potentially adverse environmental and health impacts, rendering such additions unviable. This study investigates whether a non-chemical storage method is sufficient to maintain the radiocarbon and stable carbon and nitrogen signatures of freshwater DOM from a low order river system draining a peaty catchment. Some 50 L of stream water were collected in 1 plastic carbuoy and, within 24 hr, 1-L aliquots were transferred to acid-washed plastic bottles. Five aliquots were analyzed immediately to determine the baseline values for 14C (pMC), δ13C (VPDB‰), δ15N (AIR‰), %C (mg L-1), and %N (mg L-1). Of the remaining subsamples, 20 were frozen and a further 20 refrigerated at <4 °C. After 7, 30, 90, and 180 days, 5 frozen and 5 refrigerated aliquots were analyzed in the same manner as the baseline aliquots. Analysis of the results shows that there is no statistically significant interaction between the variables storage method or length of storage for any of the determinants. Storage method has a statistically significant effect on 14C (pMC) and [C] (mg L-1). Length of storage has a statistically significant effect on δ13C (VPDB‰), [C] (mg L-1), and [N] (mg L-1) values. Neither storage method nor length of storage appear to have a statistically significant effect on δ15N (AIR‰) values.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waldron, Professor Susan and Bryant, Dr Charlotte and Scott, Professor Marian and Gulliver, Dr Pauline
Authors: Gulliver, P., Waldron, S., Scott, E.M., and Bryant, C.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Radiocarbon
Publisher:University of Arizona
Published Online:01 January 2010
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