A three-phase liquid chromatographic method for δ13C analysis of amino acids from biological protein hydrolysates using liquid chromatography–isotope ratio mass spectrometry Academic Article uri icon


  • We report a three-phase chromatographic method for the separation and analysis of delta(13)C values of underivatized amino acids from biological proteins (keratin, collagen, and casein) using liquid chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (LC-IRMS). Both precision and accuracy of delta(13)C values for standard amino acid mixtures over the range of approximately 8 to 1320 ng of carbon per amino acid on the column were assessed. The precision of delta(13)C values of amino acids was found to be better at higher concentrations, whereas accuracy improved at lower concentrations. The optimal performance for this method was achieved with between 80 and 660 ng of carbon of each amino acid on the column. At amino acid amounts lower than 20 ng of carbon on the column, precision and accuracy may become compromised. The application of this new three-phase chromatographic technique will allow the analysis of delta(13)C of amino acids to be carried out as a routine method and benefit fields of research such as biomedicine, forensics, ecology, nutrition, and palaeodiet reconstruction in archaeology.


publication date

  • July 2009