A high yield cellulose extraction system for small whole wood samples and dual measurement of carbon and oxygen stable isotopes

Laia Andreu-Hayles, Mathieu Levesque, Dario Martin-Benito, Wei Huang, Ryan Harris, Rose Oelkers, Caroline Leland, Javier Martin-Fernández, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Gerhard Helle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This paper describes devices to extract α-cellulose from small whole wood samples developed at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Tree-Ring Lab and explains the procedures for chemical extractions and for the dual analysis of carbon (δ 13 C) and oxygen (δ 18 O) stable isotopes. Here, we provide the necessary steps and guidelines for constructing a cellulose extraction system for small amounts of wood and leaves. The system allows the simultaneous extraction of cellulose from 150 samples by means of in-house filter tubes, where chemicals used for the cellulose extraction are exchanged and eliminated in batches. This new implementation diminishes the processing time, minimizes physical sample manipulation and potential errors, increases sample throughput, and reduces the amount of chemicals and analytic costs. We also describe the dual measurement of δ 13 C and δ 18 O ratios in tree-ring cellulose using high-temperature pyrolysis in a High Temperature Conversion Elemental Analyzer (TC/EA) interfaced with a Thermo Delta V plus mass spectrometer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Geology
StatePublished - Jan 20 2019


  • Carbon stable isotopes (δ C)
  • Continuous flow
  • High-temperature pyrolysis (HTP)
  • Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS)
  • Oxygen stable isotopes (δ O)
  • Tree ring
  • α-Cellulose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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