Integrated Centre for Drought Research
Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru 560 065

The stable isotopic composition of the products is altered during formation or breaking of bonds in biophysical or biochemical transformation processes thus providing an accurate estimate of that process.  Hence the estimation of the isotopic signals find a wide range of application ranging from hydrology, oceanography, environmental and atmospheric sciences, food chemistry, medicine pharmacology etc. to plant sciences.  The most significant aspect is the scope of application of stable isotopes as tool for assessing plant  physiological traits and exploiting them in crop improvement programs.  A National Facility for Stable Isotope studies has been established at the Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru 560 065. Two state-of-the-art Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometers (IRMS) have been installed with the financial support from the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. The facility was established in May 2001.

About the facility

The facility is capable of quantifying the stable isotope ratios of carbon (13C/12C), oxygen (18O/16O) and nitrogen (15N/14N) and (D/H) in solid organic materials and oxygen ratios in liquid samples. Nearly eight organic samples can be analyzed per hour. The laboratory is equipped with the following infrastructure for a high throughput measurement of isotope ratios on a continuous flow basis.  The internal precession of measurement is better than 0.05 ‰ while the external precision is better than 0.12 ‰ for C and N and 0.3‰ for 18O.

  • Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (models Delta Plus and Delta V Advantage).
  • Elemental analyzers (Flash EA and TC/EA) for combustion and pyrolysis work with autosamplers .
  • Water equilibrium system for the determination of 18O/16O ratios in liquid samples.

The applications of the facility

Stable isotope ratios in organic materials accurately reflect several physiological and biochemical processes. For instance, the depletion of 13C and the enrichment of 18O or deuterium are being effectively used to understand the variations in water use efficiency, transpiration rate and growth rates.  Some of the major applications are listed below;

  • Screening for variations in WUE, transpiration rate (13C, 18O, D/H)
  • Understanding nitrogen metabolism ('15N)

  • Ecosystem processes and carbon sequestration studies

  • Identifying plants with C3 and C4 metabolism.

Sample requirement:

Typically, each analysis requires samples in the range of 1 to 1.5 mg of finely powdered and homogenized organic matter.

Cost of analysis

Organization Carbon Oxygen Nitrogen
Collaborators Rs. 150
Rs. 230
Rs. 150
Government institutes
Rs. 175
Rs. 260
Rs. 175
Private organizations
Rs. 250
Rs. 300
Rs. 250

On an average about 9000 samples are being analyzed per year.  Samples are routinely being received from several national and international institutes besides scientists from within the University.

Contact person:
Dr. M. S. Sheshshayee
National Facility for Stable Isotopic Research
Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences
Bengaluru 560 065;    

Copyright © 2018 UAS BLR.All rights reserved.
Powered by