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Quantifying Carbon-14 for Biology Using Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 26.07.2016, 00:00 authored by A. Daniel McCartt, Ted J. Ognibene, Graham Bench, Kenneth W. Turteltaub
A cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) instrument was developed using mature, robust hardware for the measurement of carbon-14 in biological studies. The system was characterized using carbon-14 elevated glucose samples and returned a linear response up to 387 times contemporary carbon-14 concentrations. Carbon-14 free and contemporary carbon-14 samples with varying carbon-13 concentrations were used to assess the method detection limit of approximately one-third contemporary carbon-14 levels. Sources of inaccuracies are presented and discussed, and the capability to measure carbon-14 in biological samples is demonstrated by comparing pharmacokinetics from carbon-14 dosed guinea pigs analyzed by both CRDS and accelerator mass spectrometry. The CRDS approach presented affords easy access to powerful carbon-14 tracer techniques that can characterize complex biochemical systems.