Tic, Toc, Dic, Doc, Pic, Poc - Unique Aspects in the Preparation of Oceanographic Samples for C-14 Ams

TitleTic, Toc, Dic, Doc, Pic, Poc - Unique Aspects in the Preparation of Oceanographic Samples for C-14 Ams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsMcNichol, AP, Osborne, EA, Gagnon, AR, Fry, B, Jones, GA
JournalNuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research Section B-Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Date PublishedJun
Accession NumberWOS:A1994NV54700037

The radiocarbon content of discrete carbon pools (total (T), dissolved (D), and particulate (P) inorganic (I) and organic (O) carbon (C)) is a useful tracer of carbon cycling within the modem and past ocean. The isolation of different carbon pools in the ocean environment and conversion to CO2 presents unique analytical problems for the radiocarbon chemist. In general, isolation and preparation of inorganic carbon presents few problems; dissolved carbon is easily extracted by acidifying the sample and stripping with an inert gas. Carbon is also readily isolated from particulate carbonate samples; in this case, CO2 is prepared by hydrolysis of the substrate with phosphoric acid. The isolation and preparation of organic carbon presents a much greater problem. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) must first be isolated from DIC and then oxidized in the presence of very high salt concentrations. We present results from a closed-tube combustion method in which the DIC-free seawater is evaporated to dryness, transferred to a clean combustion tube, and oxidized overnight at 550-degrees-C. Combustion of total organic carbon (TOC) in sediments with a high inorganic carbon content is also difficult. Removal of CaCO3 with acid leaves severely deliquescent salts which, if not thoroughly dried, cause combustion tubes to explode. Removal of the salts by rinsing can also remove significant amounts of organic matter. Finally, we present results from a local coastal region.