• How to Convert Biological Carbon Into Graphite for AMS

      Getachew, Girma; Kim, Seung-Hyun; Burri, Betty J.; Kelly, Peter B.; Haack, Kurt W.; Ognibene, Ted J.; Buchholz, Bruce A.; Vogel, John S.; Modrow, Jonathan; Clifford, Andrew J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2006-01-01)
      Isotope tracer studies, particularly radiocarbon measurements, play a key role in biological, nutritional, and environmental research. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is now the most sensitive detection method for 14C, but AMS is not widely used in kinetic studies of humans. Part of the reason is the expense, but costs would decrease if AMS were used more widely. One component in the cost is sample preparation for AMS. Biological and environmental samples are commonly reduced to graphite before they are analyzed by AMS. Improvements and mechanization of this multistep procedure is slowed by a lack of organized educational materials for AMS sample preparation that would allow new investigators to work with the technique without a substantial outlay of time and effort. We present a detailed sample preparation protocol for graphitizing biological samples for AMS and include examples of nutrition studies that have used this procedure.