Carbon Stable Isotope Analyses of Mosses - Comparisons of Bulk Organic Matter and Extracted Nitrocellulose

Grzegorz Skrzypek, Adam Kaluzny, Mariusz O. Jedrysek

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    The commonly used technique for determination of plant stable carbon isotope composition is analysis of CO, liberated during combustion of chemically extracted nitrocellulose or a-cellulose. The VC of cellulose is usually accepted as a more reliable record of growth environment conditions compared with bulk plant material analysis. Unfortunately, cellulose extraction techniques are time-consuming, and usually require toxic chemicals such as toluene, chloroform, benzene, methanol, concentrated acids, etc. We tested the possibility of replacing nitrocellulose analysis with bulk organic analysis. Sphagnum and Polytrichum mosses collected along a vertical transect (altitudes 500 to 1400 m), provided material for analysis in the wide range of delta C-13: -32.66%omicron and -26.20%omicron for bulk organic matter and -24.11%omicron and -31.86%omicron for nitrocellulose. The correlation for delta C-13 value of extracted cellulose and delta C-13 values of bulk organic matter were very good (>0.95). Our results suggested that delta C-13 analyses can be performed on bulk plant material instead of cellulose, without significant loss of information, at least for Polytrichum and Sphagnum mosses. Moreover, we confirmed that the extraction process of nitrocellulose did not cause any significant isotopic fractionation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1453-1458
    JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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