Recently, methods have been developed to analyze NO3- for δ15N and δ18O, improving our ability to identify NO3- sources and transformations. However, none of the existing methods are suited for waters with low NO3- concentrations (0.7-10 µM). We describe an improved method for collecting and recovering NO3- on exchange columns. To overcome the lengthy collection loading times imposed by the large sample volumes (7-70 L), the sample was prefiltered (0.45 µm) with a large surface area filter. Switching to AG2X anion resin and using a coarser mesh size (100-200) than previous methods also enhanced sample flow. Placement of a cation column in front of the anion column minimized clogging of the anion column by dissolved organic carbon (DOC) accumulation. This also served to minimize transfer of unwanted oxygen atoms from DOC to the 18O portion of the NO3- sample, thereby contaminating the sample and shifting δ18O. The cat-AG2X method is suited for on-site sample collection, making it possible to collect and recover NO3- from low ionic strength waters with modest DOC concentrations (80-800 µM), relieves the investigator of transporting large volumes of water back to the laboratory, and offers a means of sampling rain, snow, snowmelt, and stream samples from access-limited sites.
|Title||A method for nitrate collection for δ15N and δ18O analysis from waters with low nitrate concentrations|
|Authors||Cecily C.Y. Chang, J. Langston, M. Riggs, K. Campbell, S. R. Silva, C. Kendall|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Toxic Substances Hydrology Program|