I’m so excited: I just performed my very first ever 13C isotopic pulse-label! We are growing labelled biomass in the CO2-regulated growth chambers for my upcoming field trial, and the corn plants have reached the stage where they will be growing quickly, so it was time. We rigged up a regulator to the tiny 13CO2 cylinder, and attached a latex balloon to the end. By filling the balloon with a small amount of CO2, it will slowly diffuse through the latex into the chamber, delivering a more uniform pulse. We’ll be labelling over the next few weeks as the corn plants shoot up.
I’m joking about the title of this post, but isotopes are such a powerful tool for biogeochemists, that it is awesome to get this kind of experience using them.