We have developed a method to analyze stable carbon isotope (13C/12C) ratios in a variety of carbohydrates using high-performance liquid chromatography/isotope ratio mass spectrometry (HPLC/IRMS). The chromatography is based on strong anion-exchange columns with low strength NaOH eluents. An eluent concentration of 1 mM resulted in low background signals and good separation of most of the typical plant neutral carbohydrates. We also show that more strongly bound carbohydrates such as acidic carbohydrates can be separated by inclusion of NO as an inorganic pusher ion in the eluent. Analyses of neutral carbohydrate concentrations and their stable carbon isotope ratios are shown for plant materials and marine sediment samples both at natural abundance and for 13C-enriched samples. The main advantage of HPLC/IRMS analysis over traditional gas chromatography based methods is that no derivatization is needed resulting in simple sample treatment and improved accuracy and reproducibility.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Journal publication date2008

ID: 172709