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The oxygen isotope composition of phosphate (δ18 OPO4 ) is widely employed for reconstructing paleotemperature and tracing biogeochemical phosphorus cycling. However, existing phosphate purification protocols do not work well for igneous rocks and igneous weathering profiles (IWPs). A reliable purification method is needed for measuring δ18 OPO4 in these materials. Our phosphate purification method includes two steps of cation exchange resin treatment separated by a step of calcium phosphate precipitation (R-Ca-R method). In addition, the silver phosphate precipitation in our procedure is featured by slow evaporation to crystallization until the appearance of ammonium nitrate or silver nitrate crystals. We evaluated our methods on weathered and pristine igneous rocks, phosphorite rocks, KH2 PO4 , and (NH4 )2 HPO4 solutions. Our purification method converted over 99.9% phosphate in solution to calcium phosphate, which can be easily decalcified by cation resin. The improved silver phosphate precipitation method produced high phosphate yields (97.1%-99.5%) and retained original δ18 OPO4 within analytical uncertainty (2σ = 0.6‰). We applied the purification and precipitation method on five igneous rocks and IWPs, and obtained δ18 OPO4 values ranging from 6.4‰ to 8.0‰. Duplicate phosphate extractions yielded δ18 OPO4 values differing by less than 0.3‰. We developed a new phosphate purification method that is applicable to phosphate extraction in igneous rocks and IWPs. We also proposed a reliable indicator for the termination of silver phosphate precipitation. Our method can achieve high phosphate yield and reproducible δ18 OPO4 value. © 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Chengguo Guan, Yongbo Peng, Ziran Wei, Shanggui Gong, Huiming Bao. A new phosphate purification method for igneous weathering profiles. Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM. 2023 Sep 30;37(18):e9601

PMID: 37580845

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