In our radionuclide lab

We use the radionuclides 14C, 33P, 3H, and in future 55Fe as tracers because they allow us to

  • visualize and quantify processes in soil, sediments and plants,
  • determine with greatest sensitivity even the slowest processes, like the decomposition of biochar,
  • carry out dual labelling experiments (13C and 14C),
  • understand P dynamics in soil (e.g., dissolution of Fe-P) without pseudotracers like 18O-phosphate

We are convinced that radiotracers are indeed “old dogs, that can be taught new tricks” and are invaluable tools in processed-based environmental research. Our laboratory is licensed for max. 1.5 GBq 33P, 1 GBq 14C and 1 GBq 3H. Higher activities or other radionuclides (137Cs, 32P ), e.g. as K tracers, or to separate two contrasting P sources, can used in the ISOLAB of the university.


Our radionuclide lab has facilities for:

  • Stable and radioactive tracer application (33P, 14C, 3H, like 14CO2, 14C-labelled plant residues)
  • Incubation cupboards (2-30 °C)
  • Wet lab (e.g., microbial biomass, pressure digestion, DNA extraction, enzyme assays, solvent extraction; biomarker analyses)
  • Molecular biology
  • Plant cultivation, as well as
  • element analysis (DOC, DO-14C), as well as
  • Prep-GC and Prep-LC solutions for compound-specific activity determination.

We also have a permission to work with soil and plant material originating from outside the European Union (Quarantine Station sensu EU 2016/2031).