The EA-IRMS machine by Sercon, which we acquired at the beginning of February 2013 is a very powerful tool for isotopic measurements. With the sulfur analyzer we are able to carry out simultaneous analysis of isotopic composition of three elements (carbon, nitrogen and sulfur) from a single sample. This procedure lowers demand for sample and shorten time needed for the analysis.

Samples of about 1 mg are delivered in tin capsules and into a furnace maintained at 1000⁰C via autosampler that hold up to 60 samples. After burning tin the temperature is rised to about 1800⁰C to oxidize the sample. N2, CO2 and SO2 are separated by a packed column gas chromatograph. The gas stream (with helium as the carrier gas) is then bled via an open split into the ion source of the mass spectrometer. Following the ion separation in the magnetic field, the isotopic species are detected separately by a set of Faraday caps tuned to the appropriate masses and the ratios 15N/14N, 13C/12C and 34S/32S are calculated. Calibration of the system is made using known standards.

Application of isotopic measurements by means of EA-IRMS has a wide range. From agricultural and environmental science, ecology, food authenticity, forensic science, geochemistry, medicine and nutrition. In our laboratory it is going to be used for measurements of isotopic ratios of reactant and products of chemical, biochemical and environmental processes in order to determine kinetic and equilibrium isotope effects, with the special attention given to binding isotope effect of triazoles with expected high bioactivity.

The purchase of this new equipment was possible through funds from two research grants:

  • NCN 2011/02/A/ST4/00246 (2011-2016) “Maestro”
  • Polish-Swiss Research Program PSRP-025/2010 (2011-2016)