Isotopic signatures in a wide variety of complex organic compounds can reveal unique insights in biological and biogeochemical process. This is true as chemical and physical processes lead to changes in the natural isotope composition of organic compounds. The isotope ratios of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur provide scientists with a wealth of information on the origin of compounds, pathways of metabolism, synthesis and diagenesis as well as conditions of formation, and more.
Research topics include the study of ecology, biology, oceanography, plant metabolism, biochemistry and soil science, as well as the study of interactions among organisms and their environment. Revealing metabolic processes within plants is possible by quantifying the imposed isotopic signature. Under controlled conditions in a laboratory plant chamber, environmental parameters such as temperature, air humidity, soil moisture, and light intensity can be varied, and the isotopic signature quantified. Studying these processes allows to partition CO2 fluxes in and out of ecosystems and ultimately leads to a better understanding of plant life.
Products for biogeochemistry analysis
We provide you with the instrumentation to help your investigations of these complex organic compounds.
DELTA Q Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer
The Thermo Scientific DELTA Q IRMS combines outstanding sensitivity with excellent linearity and stability to address diverse applications.
253 Plus 10 kV Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer
The Thermo Scientific 253 Plus 10 kV IRMS provides a flexible and open platform for the connection of inlet systems and preparation devices.
Ultra High Resolution Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer
The Thermo Scientific Ultra High Resolution IRMS accurately determines conditions by which molecules were formed, transported, stored, and degraded.
C and N isotope ratio analysis of organic components
Compound-specific isotopic analysis of organic compounds is a useful approach for tracking the origin and fate of carbon and nitrogen in biogeochemical studies. When it comes to investigating metabolic pathways, GC-IRMS is a powerful technique, for either conducting tracer experiments or by studying the natural abundance of 15N or 13C in amino acids. Nitrogen content is usually low in organic compounds, so the determination of 15N/14N ratios is much more demanding than the determination of carbon isotope ratios.
Plant metabolism and nutrition
Scientists can use stable isotope composition of plant material to understand processes associated with plant metabolism. For example, during photosynthetic CO2 fixation, fractionation of stable carbon isotopes occurs and, consequently, plants are generally depleted in the heavier carbon isotope, 13C. Isotopic fractionation in plants is caused by physical and biochemical factors. The two major types of plants, C3 and C4 fixation plants, have different biochemical pathways with the heavier isotope 13C being more (C3) and less (C4) depleted. This distinction can be used in a variety of applications.
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