Isotopic measurements for environmental support
Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
This project explores whether better design and implementation of agricultural and environmental policies can be achieved by using data from isotopic measurements, inherently carrying higher information content than conventional chemical measurements. The action will provide technical assistance especially to Directorates-General (DGs) for Environment and for Agriculture and Rural Development in the design phase of new legislation or in the implementation or impact assessment phase of existing legislation.
The project will compile the experiences and information available from the isotopic research groups in EU and expand the scope of experimental isotopic measurement expertise that exists at JRC-IRMM to perform research on problems of environmental, health and agricultural relevance. Experimental capability in close collaboration with and in support of JRC-IES (water, soil, air) has been set up. Research is performed in the fields of the Ground Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), Nitrate Directive (91/676/EEC) (on nitrogen, oxygen, boron and strontium isotopes in water) and Air Quality Directive (96/62/EC) (on carbon, nitrogen, mercury and lead isotopes in particulate matter in air and compound specific isotope analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in particulate matter). Measurements on carbon and oxygen isotopes of CO2 in stratospheric air samples in collaboration with the Max Planck Atmospheric Chemistry laboratory in Mainz (DE) aim to applying the concept on research in the field of climate change.
Finally, isotopic measurements are performed to assess the origin of food products by measuring strontium isotopes in foodstuffs and soil samples, and compliance to bio-agriculture farming practices by measuring nitrogen and strontium isotopic composition in foodstuffs (Regulation (EC) No 1804/1999 on organic production of agricultural products).