Desktop-size integrated isotope analyzer claims breakthrough in fast, point-of-origin analysis

MARCH 11, 2009--Picarro, Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) and O.I. Corp. (College Station, TX, d.b.a. O.I. Analytical), announced yesterday at Pittcon (Chicago, IL, March 8-13) that they have partnered to develop a turnkey analyzer to measure total organic carbon (TOC) as well as the carbon stable isotope ratio (delta-13C). A portable, desktop-size system, the iTOC-CRDS works directly with solids, liquids, sludges and slurries. It performs wet oxidation on the carbon content of aqueous solutions or combustion of solid/semi-solid organic materials to generate CO2--and then measures the liberated CO2. It is based on wavelength scanned cavity ringdown spectroscopy (WS-CRD), and delivers delta-13C precision as high as 0.2 permil in seconds or minutes depending on sample specifics. In both cases, the CO2 is introduced directly into the WS-CRDS unit with no drying or other purification necessary, in stark contrast to legacy isotope analyzers based on isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS).

In a press conference yesterday, Picarro emphasized that system is "incredibly simple to use" and comparatively inexpensive at $55,000. And its portability makes it flexible. Applications for this instrument include origin of food (appellation of origin) and adulteration analyses for such products as wine, fruit juice, edible oils, including olive oil, seeds, nuts, fruits, chocolate, and dairy products. In addition, this system serves environmental science applications such as carbon isotope distribution in soils, sediments, and plant materials as well as limnology, hydrobiology, marine and freshwater ecosystem studies.

Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro, Inc. states, "Our company is committed to providing both the simplest solution and best data for all our target applications. In some instances this means integrating a specialized front-end on to our trace gas or isotope analyzers, to provide a fine-tuned turnkey solution. In the area of TOC, it was a natural to partner with O.I. Corporation since they bring proven TOC technology plus name-brand recognition and instant credibility in several markets that are new to Picarro."

"We have a long history of providing our customers with integrated solutions that provide superior performance by interfacing cutting-edge technology. For stable isotope analysis, we believe WS-CRDS represents a transformational technology in terms of speed, cost and ease of use, and it will greatly expand the use of stable isotope ratios in several TOC applications," says Donald Segers, President and COO of O.I. Corporation.

Picarro is known for its wavelength scanned cavity ring down spectroscopy (WS-CRDS) technology with eight exclusive licenses from Stanford University patents and nine of its own on WS-CRDS extensions.

O.I. Corp. provides analytical instruments that detect, measure, analyze, and monitor chemicals in liquids, solids, and gases.

More information:
Visit Picarro's website.
See also O.I. Corporation's website.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode,, for BioOptics World.

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