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Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (6): 864-876    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0070-6
Research article     
Application and verification of simultaneous determination of cellulose δ13C and δ18O in Picea shrenkiana tree rings from northwestern China using the high-temperature pyrolysis method
Guobao XU1,*(), Xiaohong LIU1,2, Weizhen SUN1, Tuo CHEN1, Xuanwen ZHANG1, Xiaomin ZENG2,3, Guoju WU1, Wenzhi WANG4, Dahe QIN1
1 State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2 School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710119, China
3 Department of Geology and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
4 Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
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Stable isotopes in tree-ring cellulose provide important data in ecological, archaeological, and paleoenvironmental researches, thereby, the demand for stable isotope analyses is increasing rapidly. Simultaneous measurement of cellulose δ13C and δ18O values from tree rings would reduce the cost of isotopic commodities and improve the analytical efficiency compared with conventional separate measurement. In this study, we compared the δ13C and δ18O values of tree-ring α-cellulose from Tianshan spruce (Picea schrenkiana) in an arid site in the drainage basin of the Urumqi River in Xinjiang of northwestern China based on separate and simultaneous measurements, using the combustion method (at 1050°C) and the high-temperature pyrolysis method (at 1350°C and 1400°C). We verified the results of simultaneous measurement using the outputs from separate measurement and found that both methods (separate and simultaneous) produced similar δ13C values. The two-point calibrated method improved the results (range and variation) of δ13C and δ18O values. The mean values, standard deviations, and trends of the tree-ring δ13C obtained by the combustion method were similar to those by the pyrolysis method followed by two-point calibration. The simultaneously measured δ18O from the pyrolysis method at 1400°C had a nearly constant offset with that the pyrolysis method at 1350°C due to isotopic-dependence on the reaction temperature. However, they showed similar variations in the time series. The climate responses inferred from simultaneously and separately measured δ13C and δ18O did not differ between the two methods. The tree-ring δ13C and δ18O values were negatively correlated with standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index from May to August. In addition, the δ18O was significantly correlated with temperature (positive), precipitation (negative), and relative humidity (negative) from May to August. The tree-ring δ13C and δ18O values determined simultaneously through the high-temperature pyrolysis method could produce acceptable and reliable stable isotope series. The simultaneous isotopic measurement can greatly reduce the cost and time requirement compared with the separate isotopic measurement. These results are consistent with the previous studies at humid sites, suggesting that the simultaneous determination of δ13C and δ18O in tree-ring α-cellulose can be used in wide regions.

Key wordstree rings      stable carbon and oxygen isotopes      combustion      pyrolysis      simultaneous determination      calibration      Picea schrenkiana     
Received: 21 January 2018      Published: 07 November 2018
Corresponding Authors: Guobao XU     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Guobao XU, Xiaohong LIU, Weizhen SUN, Tuo CHEN, Xuanwen ZHANG, Xiaomin ZENG, Guoju WU, Wenzhi WANG, Dahe QIN. Application and verification of simultaneous determination of cellulose δ13C and δ18O in Picea shrenkiana tree rings from northwestern China using the high-temperature pyrolysis method. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(6): 864-876.

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