Abstract

At a recent meeting on biological applications of stable isotopes held in Leipzig, the following opinion was expressed: "At this juncture, it would seem advisable for the international biomedical community to encourage the development of a CO<sub>2</sub> analog of the N<sub>2</sub> emission analyzer, ...." In particular, the desired instrument should serve as a simple and relatively inexpensive alternative to the mass spectrometer for determination of <sup>12</sup>CO<sub>2</sub>/<sup>13</sup>CO<sub>2</sub> ratios in breath tests. In general, the instrument should find widespread application in <sup>13</sup>C<sup>14</sup>C double-labeled argicultural and biological tracer studies, since organic compounds are readily converted to CO<sub>2</sub>. This note contains a brief description of some preliminary findings that provide a basis for the design of an instrument with these requirements. The methodology is equally applicable to <sup>13</sup>C and <sup>14</sup>C, but in the latter case a higher degree of accuracy appears to be achievable by the use of a method based on infrared absorption with a tunable laser and a CdHgTe detector.

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