Boron Isotopes on Water

Boron (B) isotopic analysis plays an important role in paleoceanography and hydrological studies. The boron isotopic composition of marine biogenic carbonates is reflective of seawater pH, allowing boron isotopes to be used as a tracer for studying pH variability in oceans. In addition, boron isotopes are valuable in revealing anthropogenic contamination of groundwater. For example, the distinct δ11B signatures of different sources can distinguish if the contamination is a result of industrial or agricultural activities.

Pairing Boron Isotopes with Nitrate Isotopes

Natural denitrification and mixing processes may extensively alter the isotopic values of nitrate contamination (δ15N and δ18O), making it difficult to differentiate between urban and agricultural origins of nitrate in ground and surface waters. By combining boron isotopic ratios with nitrogen isotopic ratios of nitrate, this allows for the differentiation between urban and agricultural nitrate origins.

Sample Requirements:

Water – 100 mL: Use any type of small-neck plastic bottle (HDPE, LDPE, PP) to collect your sample. Prior to collection, rinse the bottle with the running sample water. Do not add any chemicals to the water, do not acidify the water. Fill the bottle all the way, but keep the neck of the bottle empty to allow for any necessary expansion during shipment. Place the bottles inside a plastic bag and seal the bag with a zip-tie or duct tape. Clearly label both the bottle and the plastic bag.

Note: Water samples will be screened for B concentration prior to isotope dilution and extraction chromatography processes for purification and measurement. Only samples with a concentration of 10 ppb or greater will be selected for analysis. If a sample is considered not suitable for analysis, the client will only be charged for the screening.

Related Topics

Methodology: Boron Isotope Analysis
Sample Requirements for Boron Isotope Analysis