Elemental Analyser Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (EA-IRMS)

Sample Submission

For the cheapest and fastest turnaround: Submit samples weighed into 3x5 mm tin capsules, ready for analysis and stored in plastic 96-well plate/culture tray with lids. We would be happy to analyze (for free) 2-4 samples materials (at ~0.3 – 0.4mg) to help pinpoint an accurate target weight for you before weighing all your samples. Inverts and animal tissues generally fall around that 0.3-0.4 mg point (we can test to make sure) but algae, benthic matter, plants and sediments can vary greatly.

If we are to weigh the samples: The material (100-500 mg) must be dried and ground to a powder and submitted in small glass vials. Sample homogeneity is very important as only a small amount is required for analysis. The best control over your research is to oversee sample material manipulation and treatments directly (i.e. fraction separation, acidification, lipid extraction etc.), to insure exactly what you want analyzed, gets analyzed – it is a ‘bulk’ analysis; all sources of nitrogen and carbon get converted to N2 and CO2 and analyzed.

If you do need us to take on some of this sample preparation work, it comes at additional cost and time as it is labour intensive and we are primarily an analytical facility. We would require a sub-sampled portion of the material you wish analyzed (~500 mg), frozen if we are to freeze-dry it as well.

View more information about material treatments and preparation options.

Template for EA Sample Tray Submission (XLSX)

Material Requirements for Carbon

Analysis Analysis Requirement Amount Requested Precision
δ13C 0.01 mg C ~10 mg dry/ground (tissue)
~100-500 mg d/g (soil, plant)
2σ = 0.2 ‰ VPDB
Any materials that you suspect may have inorganic carbon contamination, like aquatic sourced materials (plants, inverts, algae POM etc. as well as sediments or soils) you may need to consider an acid wash to have it removed. We suggest a mild 5-10% HCl wash (90 min @ 50-60°C) then rinsed to neutral pH 3-4 times with nano-pure water.

Material Requirements for Nitrogen

Analysis Analysis Requirement Amount Requested Precision
δ15N 0.02 mg N ~10 mg d/g (tissue)
~100-500 mg d/g (soil, plant)
2σ = 0.3 ‰ Air-N2

View more information about nitrogen samples.

Material Requirements for Sulphur

Analysis Analysis Requirement Amount Requested Precision
δ34S 0.03 mg S ~5-10 mg dry BaSO4
~10 mg d/g (soil, tissue)
2σ = 0.3 ‰ VCDT

View more information about sulphur samples.

Material Requirements for Oxygen

Analysis Analysis Requirement Amount Requested Precision
δ18O 0.03 mg O ~5 mg dry BaSO4
~10 mg d/g (purified/tree-ring cellulose)
2σ = 0.3 ‰ VSMOW

View more information about oxygen samples.

All materials must be dry, homogeneous (finely ground) in small, well-labelled glass (preferably) vials.

Visit our pricing page for cost of analysis or contact us with any questions.