MEPS - Vol. 493 - Feature article

Acidification of samples prior to sulfur isotope analysis results in invalid ratios and should not be used.
Image: R. Connolly, Symbols: ian.umces.edu/symbols

Connolly RM, Schlacher TA

 

Sample acidification significantly alters stable isotope ratios of sulfur in aquatic plants and animals

 

Stable isotope ratios of sulfur are increasingly being used in the analysis of modern and historical food webs. Preparation of plant and animal material for isotope analysis routinely includes steps (e.g. addition of acid) that remove inorganic material not normally assimilated by consumers. Connolly and Schlacher tested the effects of acidification on sulfur isotopes in seagrass, algae and invertebrate animals. Acid treatment resulted in significant losses of elemental sulfur and changes in sulfur isotope ratios. Acidification of samples prior to sulfur isotope analysis results in invalid ratios and should not be used.

 

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