Special issue articles

A quantum cascade laser infrared spectrometer for CO2 stable isotope analysis: Field implementation at a hydrocarbon contaminated site under bio-remediation

Christophe Guimbaud , Cécile Noel , Michel Chartier , Valéry Catoire , Michaela Blessing , Jean Christophe Gourry , Claude Robert


Received July 28, 2015,Revised October 07, 2015, Accepted November 27, 2015, Available online January 08, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 60-74

Real-time methods to monitor stable isotope ratios of CO2 are needed to identify biogeochemical origins of CO2 emissions from the soil–air interface. An isotope ratio infra-red spectrometer (IRIS) has been developed to measure CO2 mixing ratio with δ13C isotopic signature, in addition to mixing ratios of other greenhouse gases (CH4, N2O). The original aspects of the instrument as well as its precision and accuracy for the determination of the isotopic signature δ13C of CO2 are discussed. A first application to biodegradation of hydrocarbons is presented, tested on a hydrocarbon contaminated site under aerobic bio-treatment. CO2 flux measurements using closed chamber method is combined with the determination of the isotopic signature δ13C of the CO2 emission to propose a non-intrusive method to monitor in situ biodegradation of hydrocarbons. In the contaminated area, high CO2 emissions have been measured with an isotopic signature δ13C suggesting that CO2 comes from petroleum hydrocarbon biodegradation. This first field implementation shows that rapid and accurate measurement of isotopic signature of CO2 emissions is particularly useful in assessing the contribution of contaminant degradation to the measured CO2 efflux and is promising as a monitoring tool for aerobic bio-treatment.

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