Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Maintaining a 14C-clean laboratory environment

Both ITM and IGV house research using natural-level 14C measurements. This poses high requirements for 14C cleanliness, i.e. avoidance of contamination from e.g. 14C labelled substances.

14C labeled molecules are used extensively, especially for primary production measurements and other types of incubations. Spills are ubiquitous at research vessels and laboratories, and contaminated material will leave a "hot" trace in storage compartments, freezers and laboratory equipment. This contamination is permanent.

We ask all Delta Facility users to carefully consider any risk of contamination w.r.t. the material being analyzed in our laboratories. For more detailed information regarding risks and contamination checks, we refer to the excellent webpage of the Tritium Laboratory (Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science). The Tritium Laboratory can also supply swab kits and the 14C analysis for first tier contamination checks.

An excerpt from their explanation of the risks of 14C contamination:

"These “artificial” isotopes are used on board the ship in quantities of up to 1011 times the detection limits needed for the study of the natural distribution of the isotopes in the ocean. Thus, even a minute spill, even if many orders of magnitude lower than any health-related levels, would be entirely disastrous for the natural tracer projects."



Last Updated on Friday, 31 August 2012 09:56
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