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TitleNitrogen and triple oxygen isotopes in near-road air samples using chemical conversion and thermal decomposition
AuthorSmirnoff, A; Savard, M M; Vet, R; Simard, M C
SourceRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry vol. 26, issue 23, 2012 p. 2791-2804,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20120236
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Lat/Long WENS-79.7500 -79.5000 43.7500 43.5000
Subjectsgeochemistry; isotopic studies; oxygen isotopes; nitrogen; analytical methods
ProgramCoal & Oil Resources Environmental Sustainability, Environmental Geoscience
Released2012 10 29
The determination of triple oxygen (d(18)O and d(17)O) and nitrogen isotopes (d(15)N) is important when investigating the sources and atmospheric paths of nitrate and nitrite. To fully understand the atmospheric contribution into the terrestrial nitrogen cycle, it is crucial to determine the d(15)N values of oxidised and reduced nitrogen species in precipitation and dry deposition.
In an attempt to further develop non-biotic methods and avoid expensive modifications of the gas-equilibration system, we have combined and modified sample preparation procedures and analytical setups used by other researchers. We first chemically converted NO(3)(-) and NH(4)(+) into NO(2)(-) and then into N(2)O. Subsequently, the resulting gas was decomposed into N(2) and O(2) and analyzed by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) using a pre-concentration system equipped with a gold reduction furnace.
The d(17)O, d(18)O and d(15)N values of nitrate and nitrite samples were acquired simultaneously in one run using a single analytical system. Most importantly, the entire spectrum of d(17)O, d(18)O and/or d(15)N values was determined from atmospheric nitrate, nitric oxide, ammonia and ammonium. The obtained isotopic values for air and precipitation samples were in good agreement with those from previous studies.
We have further advanced chemical approaches to sample preparation and isotope analyses of nitrogen-bearing compounds. The proposed methods are inexpensive and easily adaptable to a wide range of laboratory conditions. This will substantially contribute to further studies on sources and pathways of nitrate, nitrite and ammonium in terrestrial nitrogen cycling.