The main purpose of the research was to find a less expensive method for sampling isotopes from plants. By collecting plant xylem in a plastic, sealable bag, filling the bag with dry air, letting it sit for 24 hours and then running it through the laser spectrometer, the isotopes of the plants will be traced; specifically, deuterium and oxygen-18. The bag method of this experiment comes from that of Hendry (2015) when he used it on soils. Once the raw data was collected it was transposed from vapor to liquid data. The values found match with previous isotopic collections that were done using IR mass spectrometry. This shows that this inexpensive method was comparable to previous methods and can allow for the study of isotopes to be more accessible to the scientific community.


Till H. M. Volkman

Lab site

California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly SLO)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under grant #1546150. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher Researcher Program in partnership with California Polytechnic University and the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2.



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/399


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