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Institute of Bio- and Geosciences

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Environmental analytics and isotopes

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IBG-3 uses a broad spectrum of analytical methods and offers expert knowledge in the area of organic analytics as well as the use of stable isotope and radiotracer techniques. We develop, improve, and apply analytical methods to measure solid, liquid, and gaseous environmental samples in terrestrial systems. Our analyses allow to study matter fluxes, organic matter formation, degradation processes, as well as their interactions with the hydrosphere and atmosphere and enable thus an up-scaling from the point to the regional scale.

The following methods represent our core expertise:

  • Greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O)

    • Gas chromatography (offline analysis)
    • Portable/non-portable infrared laser absorption analyzers (online analysis)
  • Organic analytics (for nonradioactive and radioactive samples)

    • HPLC-DAD
    • Head space-GC-FID/ MS
    • (Curie point pyrolysis)-GC-MS
    • Pyrolysis-GC-FID(nonradioactive only)
    • MSSV-GC-FID(nonradioactive only)
    • UPLC-MS/MS
  • Light stable isotopes (C, N, O, H) (for nonradioactive sample only)

    • Infrared laser absorption analyzers for liquid water/water vapor
    • Infrared laser absorption analyzer for combined isotope analysis of CO2 and H2O
    • Isotope-ratio mass spectrometer with trace gas unit for CO2, CH4 and N2O
    • Isotope-ratio mass spectrometer with CN analyzer for C and N isotope ratio analysis of solid samples (soils, peat, sediments, DOM, plants)
    • Isotope-ratio mass spectrometer with high-temperature pyrolysis unit for O and H isotope ratio analysis of solid samples (organic matter, cellulose, phosphates)
    • Isotope-ratio mass spectrometer with gas bench for C and O isotope analysis in carbonates and DIC.
    • Online equilibration method for depth-specific analysis of H2O and CO2 isotope ratios along soil profiles
  • Radioactive analytics

    • Actual application as radiotracer: 14C, 32P, 33P, 90Sr, 137Cs
    • Liquid scintillation counter
    • Robox (14C)
    • Radio-HPLC (14C)
    • Bioimager

More information can be found here:
Environmental Sensing and Monitoring
Soil Organic Matter Dynamics and Elemental Cycles
Plant-Soil-Atmosphere Exchange Processes
Biogeochemical Interfaces and Colloids


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