Hi Jen,

I second that. We run samples for a client once with a high salt content (that is the samples had a high salt content not the client).

As you point out, the quartz reactor tubes failed; in our case within less than 100 samples.  Pin-holes developed through which molten tin run down the outside of the reactor tube.  Sadly, Isogeochem does not permit attachments otherwise I would show y’all some pictures of reactors covered in tear drops  of tin / tinoxide.



From: Stable Isotope Geochemistry [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jen Lehman
Sent: 31 July 2018 15:48
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ISOGEOCHEM] Low %C soil bulk isotope analysis - how much is too much?

Hi Matt,

I am more concerned about the salt content of your samples. Were you able to rinse them or remove salt in any way? The salt will react with your quartz reactor tube and can cause it to crack/fail.
Jen Walker
WM Keck Carbon Cycle AMS Laboratory
University of California Irvine

On Jul 31, 2018, at 5:01 AM, Chris Pullan <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
Hi Matt,

Unless your instrument lacks sensitivity you will not need to run 400ug carbon. Most likely you can obtain suitable precision at 200ug, possibly even down to 100ug. Perhaps try running a few standards at these lower levels to see how the instrument performs.
You are likely to get better combustion with smaller samples and certainly less build up of ash so smaller could well be better.

It would be a different story if you were also measuring N isotopes …


Mr Chris Pullan
Goss Scientific Instruments Limited

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From: Stable Isotope Geochemistry <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> On Behalf Of Matthew Von Tersch
Sent: 31 July 2018 12:04
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [ISOGEOCHEM] Low %C soil bulk isotope analysis - how much is too much?

Hi all,

We have been asked to run some soil samples taken from a salt marsh in Australia, the majority of which are from the surface, but there are also some from a core. The samples have been dried and ground and analysed for TOC.

Based on a requirement of 400 ug carbon per sample for our system (Sercon 20-22), some of the samples will require between 5 and 15 mg of soil per capsule. I spend the majority of my time working with collagen in the 1 mg range, so this venturing into the unknown.

For those of you working with soils, is there anything I need to be aware of when running this type of material for delta 13C, and how much material per capsule is too much?

Many thanks for any assistance.


Please note that I check emails only twice a day, so urgent or quick queries may be resolved more efficiently by telephone or face-to-face.

Mr Matthew von Tersch
BioArCh Laboratory Manager

Department of Archaeology - University of York
Room 229, Environment Building
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