911354 Stable isotopes (C, N, S, O, H) in soil and environmental sciences

Lecture and field trip
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Hood-Nowotny, Rebecca , Eichinger, Corinna , Watzinger, Andrea
Offered in
Wintersemester 2022/23
Languages of instruction


1. Stable isotopes: definition, units, reference standards, calculations
2. Analytical techniques IRMS (EA,GC,EQ)
3. Stable isotope fractionation (equilibrium and kinetic isotope effects) - theory
4. Stable isotope fractionation during transformation – determination of the isotope fractionation factor
5. Application of stable isotope fractionation – Describing and quantifying biodegradation
6. Stable isotope probing – the use of mass balance calculations to determine the fate of organic molecules
7. Labelled substances, tracer studies. Direct labelling, chamber methods, leaf labelling, chamber studies etc.
8. Biological nitrogen fixation measurement and indirect methods for measuring plant N uptake.
9. Biogeochemical process studies-isotope pool dilution.
10. Use of isotopes to trace and determine sources.
11. Future technologies and applications of isotopes, forensics, metabolomics, etc.

1. Exkursion the stable isotope lab BOKU Tulln
2. Exkursion to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Seibesrdorf
3. Excursion to the SILVER lab (University of Vienna)
4. Exkursion to the VERA lab (University of Vienna)

Previous knowledge expected

Basic background in chemistry and analytical chemistry.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

After completing this course the students shall be able to define isotopes and name various methods of measurement. They will be able to describe and explain the behaviour of isotopes in the environment and will be able to use this understanding to interprete isotope data and design isotope studies.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.