Stable Isotope Probing (SIP)

Definitively prove the biological breakdown of a specific contaminant

Bio-Trap samplers can be used in conjunction with an innovative technique called stable isotope probing (SIP) to conclusively demonstrate biodegradation of a specific contaminant of concern. With the SIP method, a Bio-Trap sampler is baited with a specially synthesized form of the contaminant containing 13C labeled carbon. Since 13C is rare, carbon originating from the labeled contaminant can be readily distinguished from carbon (predominantly 12C) from other sources. When the baited Bio-Trap is deployed in a monitoring well, the 13C labeled contaminant on the Bio-Sep beads is subject to the same physical, chemical, and microbiological processes as the unlabeled contaminant present at the site. In essence, the 13C label serves as a tracer which can be detected in the end products of biodegradation. When biodegradation of the contaminant is occurring, the 13C label from the synthesized contaminant in the Bio-Trap will be incorporated into microbial biomass and dissolved inorganic carbon (CO2). Quantification of 13C enriched phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) demonstrates contaminant incorporation into biomass while quantification of 13C enriched dissolved inorganic carbon demonstrates contaminant mineralization. For more information on stable isotope probing, please see SIP.