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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-469
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-469
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: technical note 25 Oct 2019

Submitted as: technical note | 25 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Analysis of oxygen isotopes of inorganic phosphate  (δ18Op) in freshwater: A detailed method description

Catharina Simone Nisbeth1, Federica Tamburini2, Jacob Kidmose3, Søren Jessen1, and David William O'Connell4 Catharina Simone Nisbeth et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (IGN), University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
  • 2Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8315 Lindau, Switzerland
  • 3Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
  • 4Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Museum Building, Dublin 2, Ireland

Abstract. The ability to identify the origin of phosphorus is essential to effectively mitigate eutrophication of freshwater ecosystems. The oxygen isotope composition of orthophosphate (δ18Op) has been suggested to have a significant prospective as a tracer for P entering freshwater ecosystems. The δ18Op tracing method is, however, still in its preliminary stages and has proven challenging to implement for new practitioners. In order to achieve progress in developing the application of δ18Op signatures as a tracing tool, there is a need to eliminate the methodological challenges involved in accurately determining δ18Op. This technical note describes the various steps needed to concentrate and isolate orthophosphate in freshwater samples into an adequately pure analyte (Ag3PO4), without isotopic alteration during processing. The protocol compiles the disperse experiences from previous studies, combined with our own experience.

Catharina Simone Nisbeth et al.
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Short summary
Phosphorus contamination frequently causes eutrophication of freshwater lakes. However it is often difficult to establish the origin of the contaminating phosphorus. This study aims to contribute to the development and improvement of a method for tracing phosphorus in the freshwater environment, by using the oxygen-18 isotope of orthophosphate (δ18Op). The use of a coherent and common method across research groups may enable phosphorus tracing and better management of freshwater ecosystems.
Phosphorus contamination frequently causes eutrophication of freshwater lakes. However it is...
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