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IRMS Laboratory

Expertise and instrumentation to explore stable isotope distributions in soil and aquatic environments.

Service Application



We are primarily a collaborative service facility that aims to enable and develop stable isotope applications and to answer congruent research questions.

We support interdisciplinary investigations of soil and aquatic habitats by offering scientific consultation, student training, and a broad range of instrumentation and approaches for determining stable isotopic ratios of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen. Our commitment is to scientific merit and publication of the stable isotope ratio measurements generated by our combined thought, time, resources, and facilities.

Our facility was established with funding from the EU structural and investment funds. We charge at-cost prices for analyses to cover consumables. For the time we invest into providing each isotope value, our academic staff therefore prefers to participate as collaborators and co-authors for all projects, conference abstracts, publications, etc. that report data generated from our instrumentation. We’re also keen to assist with data interpretation and writing manuscripts, services that you don’t typically receive from commercial labs. In summary, we primarily contribute our knowledge, experience, and machine-time to research projects that advance a significant scientific agenda.

The SoWa Stable Isotope Facility is located in České Budějovice, Czechia within the framework of the Soil & Water Research Infrastructure, Biology Center, Czech Academy of Sciences. Initiated in February 2018, the facility currently provides the following measurements:

  • δ13C, δ15N, δ 34S solids
  • δ2H and δ18O of solids
  • δ13C and δ18O carbonates
  • δ2H, δ18O water
  • δ13C and δ2H methane and C2-6 gases
  • δ13C and δ18O of atmosphere CO2
  • δ13C, δ18O, δ2H fatty acid methyl esters, n-alkanes, and other biomarkers
  • δ13C, δ15N, δ2H amino acids
  • δ15N and δ18O of N2O reduced from nitrate (TiCl3 method)

Analysis protocols currently in development include:

  • δ13C, δ18O, δ2H monosaccharides
  • δ13C organic acids



Services & Capabilities

Protocols for each analysis are linked to the parameters below.

Analyte δ13C δ15N δ 34S δ18O δ2H
Solids: CNS or OH
C1-6 gases      
Dissolved Inorganic Carbon        
Atmospheric CO2      
N2 , N2O, NO2 , NO3      
n-alkanes & lipids    
Amino acids    
Organic acids        





The SoWa Stable Isotope Facility is equipped with a Thermo ScientificTM 253 PlusTM 10 kV IRMS configured for determining the stable isotopic ratios of C, N, S, O, and H introduced as CO2, N2, SO2, H2, CO, or N2O via continuous flow from the peripheral instruments listed below.

  • SmartEA Isolink (Thermo ScientificTM) converts solid and liquid samples to CO2, N2, SO2, H2, and/or CO gases via flash combustion and, in a single injection, allows for determination of δ 13C, δ 15N, δ34S in samples with C:S ratios up to 103. A high temperature combustion furnace is also available for δ 2H and δ 18O measurements.
  • Trace GC 1310 Isolink II with Conflo-IV and tandem ISQ (Thermo ScientificTM) for separation of ≥C1 gases and combustion/pyrolysis for determination of stable isotopic composition. Analytes may also be channeled to the ISQ for simultaneous generation of MS2 spectra to support compound identification. The GC injection ports are equipped with both standard and PTV injectors as well as a double-shot pyrolyzer.
  • GasBench II (Thermo ScientificTM) with cold trap allows for pre-concentration, purification, and separation of CO2, N2, SO2, H2, CO, and N2O introduced via autosampler injection of headspace samples as well as direct injection onto sample loops (50-250 µL). Flow can also be diverted to GC-Isolink reactors for CH4 isotopic analysis
  • LC IsoLink for separation and conversion of organic compounds to CO2 for IRMS analysis. The LC flow may be split to an ICPMS/MS detector, allowing for simultaneous analysis of stable isotopic and metal compositions. LC & IC column chromatography is envisioned to allow separation of targeted compound groups (i.e., mono- and oligo-saccharides, sugar alcohols, amino acids and organic acids) as well as non-targeted mixtures of complex natural substances with molecular weights ranging up to 1000 kDa.



Collaborative Service Projects

Ongoing and completed projects, grants, & collaborations

Year Collaborator Institution Project Funding Source Status

Przemysław Wachniew

George Melikadze

Aurel Persoiu

Boris Chubarenko

Yurii Nabyvanets

AGH University of Science and Technology

Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

Emil Racovita Institute of Speleology

Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of Russian Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Environmental tracers for the assessment of nitrate contamination of coupled groundwater – surface water systems  IAEA TC Project RER7013 Ongoing
2019-present Vojtek Tlaskal, Anne Daebeler Institute of Soil Biology & Biogeochemistry, Biology Centre CAS Methane cycling in peatland sediments   Ongoing
2018-present Gerrit Angst Biology Centre CAS – ISB/SOWA

Disentangling the effect of substrate quality on the formation and chemical composition of mineral-protected soil organic matter

GAČR 19-00533Y

Soil texture affects the coupling of litter decomposition and soil organic matter formation


2020-present Mojmir Vasek Institute of Hydrobiology, Biology Centre CAS Methane cycling in Rimov Reservoir   Ongoing
2020-present Henry Wu Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) Dietary controls on coral fatty acid dynamics   Ongoing
2020-present Andreas Lorke Universität Koblenz-Landau The effect of flow velocity on methane production and oxidation in aquatic sediments   Ongoing
2019-present Veronika Jílková Biology Centre CAS – ISB/SOWA

SOM contents in the High Artic

Soil respiration and priming effect of plant root exudate


Carbon Sequestration Related to Soil Physical and Chemical Properties in the High Arctic


2020-2021 Daniel Petras Biology Centre CAS – SOWA Microbially induced iron, nitrogen and phosphorus co-recycling and transient decoupling in lacustrine ferruginous ecosystems  

Aqueous system-level processes and prokaryote assemblages in the ferruginous and sulfate-rich bottom waters of a post-mining lake

2020-2021 Lihini Aluwihare Univ. California San Diego Microbial antioxidants as biomarkers of recalcitrant organic matter CAS MSM200961904

Photochemical (UV–vis/H2O2) degradation of carotenoids: Kinetics and molecular end products

2020-2021 Carsten Mueller University of Copenhagen Effects of simulated wildfires on organic matter   Ongoing
2018-2021 Yuliya Vystavna Biology Centre CAS – HBU Recharge time and water isotopes in Šumava lakes   Ongoing
2019-2020 Ivana Veřjiková Biology Centre CAS – HBU Reversal roles of predator and prey in the asp/bleak model system   Ongoing
2019-present Tomaš Hajek University of South Bohemia, Dept. of Experimental Plant Biology Carbohydrate and phenol biomarkers in Sphagnum peat   Ongoing
2019-present Alica Chroňáková Biology Centre CAS – ISB/SOWA Actinomycetes lipidome   Ongoing
2019-present Anne Daebeler University of Vienna H2 consumption by bacterial nitrifiers   Ongoing
2018-2020 Hana Šantrůčková & Jolanta Niedzwiecka Univ. South Bohemia Carbon use efficiency of 13C-glucose under oxic and anoxic conditions in forest soil   Ongoing




Our planned instrument constellation and analyses


Name Role Phone Room Email
Dr. Travis B. Meador Head of Laboratory +420 387 775 637 206-NB travis.meador {at}
Mgr. Ljubov Poláková Head Technician   205-NB ljubov.polakova {at}
Karelys Umbria Salinas Technician   131 karelys.umbria {at}
Stanislav Jabinski Ph.D. Student   205-NB stanislav.jabinski {at}
IRMS Lab a.k.a. “The Luggage”   240-NB  

Graduates & Alumni

Name Role | Era Whereabouts Link, Email
Dr. Sofia Semitsoglou Postdoc | 2019-2022  ICRA Catalan Institute for Water Research
Laura Nübl BSc Thesis | 2021-2022 Linz, Austria