Nontraditional stable isotopes in environmental sciences

Christopher S. Romanek, Brian Beard, Ariel Anbar, C. Fred T. Andrus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Stable isotopes are used in two ways in environmental investigations: (1) they are introduced as tracers to map the flow of mass through a system, or (2) the stable isotope compositions of materials are measured to infer the processes responsible for isotope distribution patterns at the natural abundance level. The latter usage requires some fundamental knowledge about the factors that influence stable isotope partitioning in nature. Much of this information has been gathered over the last half century for the biologically active elements, hydrogen (H), carbon (C), nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), and sulfur (S). The mass difference between the rare and most common isotope is relatively large for these elements, which results in isotope fractionation during physicochemical and biological reactions and permits distinctions to be made concerning the origin and modification of materials over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Isotopes in Biodegradation and Bioremediation
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages52
ISBN (Electronic)9781420012613
ISBN (Print)9781566706612
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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