The University of Arizona
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BLANK CORRECTION FOR ∆14C MEASUREMENTS IN ORGANIC COMPOUND CLASSES OF OCEANIC PARTICULATE MATTER

Jeomshik Hwang, Ellen RM Druffel

Abstract


Contaminant carbon (blank carbon) was studied for its impact on the carbon isotope measurements (Δ14C and δ13C) of 3 organic compound classes of oceanic particulate organic matter. Two methods of blank correction and associated uncertainties were studied. First, the carbon blanks were quantified manometrically and the isotope ratios of the blank carbon were measured directly. Second, the isotope ratios of the blank carbon were estimated using the standard dilution method from the difference in Δ14C values between unprocessed and processed standards. The 2 methods agreed within the uncertainties. The standard deviations of numerous Δ14C measurements made on processed standard compounds were comparable to those of real samples. Blank correction using the standard dilution method is much less sensitive to the error in determination of blank carbon mass than is correction using the directly measured mass and Δ14C values of the blank carbon. The standard dilution method is recommended for correcting Δ14C analyses of small samples that involve incorporation of a significant amount of blank carbon.

Keywords


Contaminant carbon (blank carbon) was studied for its impact on the carbon isotope measurements (?14C andd13C) of 3 organic compound classes of oceanic particulate organic matter. Two methods of blank correction and associateduncertainties were studied. First;the carbon blanks were quantified manometrically and the isotope ratios of the blank carbonwere measured directly. Second;the isotope ratios of the blank carbon were estimated using the standard dilution method fromthe difference in ?14C values between unprocessed and processed standards. The 2 methods agreed within the uncertainties.The standard deviations of numerous ?14C measurements made on processed standard compounds were comparable to thoseof real samples. Blank correction using the standard dilution method is much less sensitive to the error in determination ofblank carbon mass than is correction using the directly measured mass and ?14C values of the blank carbon. The standard dilutionmethod is recommended for correcting ?14C analyses of small samples that involve incorporation of a significant amountof blank carbon.

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