A method for the extraction of ammonium from freshwaters for nitrogen isotope analysis

Lehmann, M. F. and Bernasconi, M. and McKenzie, J. A.. (2001) A method for the extraction of ammonium from freshwaters for nitrogen isotope analysis. Analytical chemistry, Vol. 73, no. 19. pp. 4717-4721.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249291

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The measurement of delta N-15 values of inorganic nitrogen species is an important analytical tool to trace nitrogen species in order to understand nitrogen cycling in aquatic systems. Nitrogen isotope analysis of freshwater ammonium has, however, been hindered by the lack of a simple and reliable technique to measure delta N-15 values at natural abundance levels. We present a simple and rapid method to concentrate ammonium from freshwater samples for on-line N-isotope ratio determination. Ammonium is collected by adsorption on N-free cation exchange resins. The dried N-loaded exchange resin is then directly combusted to produce N-2 gas for subsequent delta N-15 analysis. The method was evaluated with simulated freshwater solutions containing varying amounts of standard NH4+-N (delta N-15 = 2.1 parts per thousand) and potentially interfering inorganic and organic compounds. In general, the cation exchange resin method gives accurate and reproducible delta N-15 values (sigma (1) > 0.3 parts per thousand; n = 10). Because of adsorption interference, high concentrations of cations in solution may cause ammonium loss but do not result in measurable isotope fractionation. Replicate extractions of the ammonium standard added to water collected from four Swiss lakes demonstrate the good performance of this method when applied to low ionic strength natural water samples with modest concentrations of dissolved organic nitrogen.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Aquatic and Isotope Biogeochemistry (Lehmann)
UniBasel Contributors:Lehmann, Moritz F
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:23
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:31

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