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BayCenSI - Center for Stable Isotope Research in Ecology and Biogeochemistry

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Frequently Asked Questions

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May I send pre-weighed samples (e.g. in tin capsules)?

In principle, it is possible to send us pre-weighed samples. But please consider that if you do so, you should be aware that we will need extra material if something does not go as expected. This additional sample material would be then asked for, or, alternatively, you provide ready-made backup samples initially. Due to the possible alterations in weight (e.g., through loss of material within the container), we prefer finely milled material. This is especially true if you do not know if your material is within the linear range of concentrations!

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How high may the enrichment be?

Depending on the instrument configuration and sample consistency (gas, liquid, solid), the analysis must be discussed individually. We separate both enriched and natural abundance measurement and preparation. It is crucial to know if we are handling enriched samples! Please indicate the range of expected label in the sample submission form. If in any doubt, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us using the contact form.

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Of which consistency should the samples be?

  • Solids (for 15N 13C 2H and 18O) should be finely ground. Weighing in your samples, may reduce turn-around time and costs, but please consider the following question..  You find a quick tutorial here.

  • Liquids: filtered (if necessary), in vials (32x11.6), filled completely to avoid air exchange

  • Gases: CO2/N2O/CH4/O2 by arrangement; please contact us!

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Which gases can be measured?

We can measure the concentration and relative isotopic composition of:

  • CO2 (13/12C and 18/16O)

  • N2O (15/14Nα/β and 18/16O)

  • CH4 (13/12C)

Currently, we are developing capabilities to measure:

O2 (17/16O, 18/16O)

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In which concentration must the gases be present?

please have a look here: Sample submission > Gases

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Which isotopes can be measured for solids/liquids/gases?

  • Solids: 15N, 13C, 2H, 18O

  • Liquids: 2H, 18O

  • Gases: 15N-N2O (PreCon-GC-C-IRMS), 13C-CO2 (GB-IRMS, GC-IRMS), 18O-CO2 (GB-IRMS, GC-IRMS), 13C-CH4 (PreCon-GC-C-IRMS), 18O (GB-IRMS)

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How long will it take until I get the results?

Samples are processed strictly according to sample receipt. Depending on the order situation, the number of samples, and instrument configuration, a forecast can be made individually. Please get in touch with us!

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How does the sample submission work?

After getting in touch through our form and receiving a project number, you fill out the sample submission sheet (including the billing information) and submit this via our contact form, thereby agreeing with BayCenSI's Data Management Statement. Afterward, samples can be dropped off between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm or by appointment or sent to:

BayCenSI, Geowissenschaften I
Rooms 125, 126, or 128
Universitätsstr. 30,
95447 Bayreuth Germany

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How do I need to label my samples?

Please fill out the sample submission form and label your samples accordingly (use “sample ID,” making sure each sample has a unique code – a number would be sufficient. If you have labelled substances identify those in the sample submission form and keep eventual control samples separate. If possible, sort your samples with increasing label concentration.

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Which liquids can be measured?

Aqueous samples, oils.

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Can samples also be analyzed underground or unfiltered?

If you do not have the possibility to grind or filter the samples yourself, this can be done as a service from our side or by yourself (please contact us to arrange the lab space) in the isotope laboratory against additional costs.

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Your question remains unanswered? Please contact us through our form.

Webmaster: Alexander Frank

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