Techniques and Methods

Sample Preparation:

Sample preparation is as important as an actual measurement on the sample. Any processing might affect the overall result.

There are three key steps:

  1. Initial treatment (e.g. acid treatment to remove carbonates, freeze drying, etc.)
  2. Homogenization/milling or grinding
  3. Storage

In general for OM, a well homogenized, dry, finely ground solid (grains barely visible to the eye), are best for use in systems such as the EA-IRMS. Note: excess water in a sample can create problems in the IRMS and or the preparation system. The specifics of each project should be discussed with the lab manager, Dr. Anderson, and/or your main supervisor, so that the best sample preparation procedure maybe used. Also, be aware that certain stabilization procedures must be used before preparation begins (e.g. poisoning, refrigeration, etc.). If, for example, fungi is growing in your sample, chances are it will have a different isotopic composition than your sample (however they will be related).


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