AMS radiocarbon dating of plants, seeds

Small, short-lived plants, such as seeds, serve as excellent materials for obtaining valuable data through AMS radiocarbon dating. To ensure accurate results, the plant remains samples must be pure and dry, free from any contaminants like clay, peat, or mud. It is preferable to have a complete piece of the plant or seed for the analysis, although smaller samples, like tiny broomcorn millet seeds, can also yield results. Prior to radiocarbon (14C) dating, all samples in our laboratory undergo a careful selection and pre-treatment process based on their type, quantity, and condition. This pre-treatment process involves graphitization and is one of the crucial phases in the carbon dating procedure, demanding a high level of expertise to ensure reliable and precise outcomes. In the VILNIUS RADIOCARBON laboratory, plant and seed samples are meticulously pre-treated using top-quality chemicals and consumables available in the market, adhering strictly to internally and internationally approved protocols and methodologies. On demand we can measure and d13C stable isotopes values, using Isoprime VISION isotope ratio mass spectrometer from Elementar GmbH (Germany) results.


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Pretreatment protocol for plants, seeds samples

Preferred sample size: 40 mg

Minimum sample size: 20 mg

Samples are prepared using the standard acid-base-acid (ABA) method. The samples undergo a series of treatments, including 1M HCl, distilled water, 0.1M NaOH, distilled water (until the solution becomes colorless), and finally, 1M HCl. Woody plant material samples may be subjected to a bleach treatment. The concentration of the solutions and the bleach (2.5–5.0% w/v), temperature and duration of storage of the samples in the solution depends on the size, fragility and preservation of the specimens.

Before sending the sample, we recommend to check here, how your sample’s result in the dating certificate will look.

If you need consultation regarding correct sampling – do not hesitate to call or write a message with the sample photos

Saulėtekio av. 3, LT-10257
Vilnius, Lithuania

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