911351 Stable isotopes (C, N, S, O, H) in soil and environmental sciences

Lecture and field trip
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Watzinger, Andrea , Hood-Nowotny, Rebecca
Institute of Soil Research (IBF)
Offered in
Wintersemester 2017/18
Languages of instruction


1. Stable isotopes: definition, units, reference standards, calculations
2. Analytical techniques IRMS (EA,GC,EQ), CRDS
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 AIT Tulln (together with VU 771001)
2. Exkursion in VIRIS (Vienna Isotopte Research and Survey) BOKU Tulln (together with VU 771001)
3. Excursion to VERA (Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator) University of Vienna, Vienna (together with VU 771001)
4. Excursion to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Headquaters Vienna (together with VU 771001) (together with VU 771001)
5. Excursion to the SILVER (Stable Isotope Laboratory at the University of Vienna for Environmnetal Research) Vienna (together with VU 771001)

Previous knowledge expected

Basic background in chemistry and analytical chemistry; The lecture is organised as a collective lecture together together with 771321 Isotopic tools and 771320 Advanced Analytical Techniques.

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 understand and describe 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.