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Carbon stable isotope ratio as a revealer of incomplete decarbonation for particulate organic carbon measurement in river plumes

Abstract : The characterization of particles in suspension in river plumes contributes to the assessment of net particulate organic carbon (POC) fluxes and to a better understanding of the anthropogenic and climatic impact on blue carbon. Prior to POC analysis in natural waters, inorganic carbon (in the form of carbonates) must be removed. This step is generally carried out by acid leaching. However, the presence of mineral matrices (in turbid waters) may hinder total decarbonation, which may result in biased measurements. This work checks the quality of decarbonation through the analysis of carbon stable isotope ratio (δ 13 C), considering suspended particles discharged by three rivers into coastal waters under flooding conditions. Carbonates were removed by adding variable volumes of 2N hydrochloric acid (HCl) to filters. Carbon concentrations and stable isotopic ratios were analyzed. Values of δ 13 C org (stable isotope ratio of organic carbon) allow the identification of incompletely decarbonated samples. If a small amount of detrital carbonates resists the usual decarbonation treatment, δ 13 C org can be significantly shifted towards less negative values, suggesting the need of more efficient decarbonation methods in order to improve the accuracy of organic carbon measurements. Even in the case of a high C org /C total ratio, the impact of remaining carbonates on the δ 13 C org value is strong because δ 13 C inorg is significantly different. The sensitivity of δ 13 C org measurement might therefore be used to validate POC measurements in estuarine and coastal waters.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 11, 2021 - 11:54:57 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 3:32:40 AM

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Thierry Blasco, Christophe Migon, Guillaume Morin, Aurélie Dufour, Nathalie Vigier, et al.. Carbon stable isotope ratio as a revealer of incomplete decarbonation for particulate organic carbon measurement in river plumes. Geo-Marine Letters, Springer Verlag, 2021, 41 (1), pp.4. ⟨10.1007/s00367-020-00676-2⟩. ⟨hal-03105734⟩

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