Application of enriched stable isotopes as tracers in biological systems: a critical review

Stefan Sturup, Helle Rusz Hansen, Bente Gammelgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


The application of enriched stable isotopes of minerals and trace elements as tracers in biological systems is a rapidly growing research field that benefits from the many new developments in inorganic mass spectrometric instrumentation, primarily within inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) instrumentation, such as reaction/collision cell ICP-MS and multicollector ICP-MS with improved isotope ratio measurement and interference removal capabilities. Adaptation and refinement of radioisotope tracer experiment methodologies for enriched stable isotope experiments, and the development of new methodologies coupled with more advanced compartmental and mathematical models for the distribution of elements in living organisms has enabled a broader use of enriched stable isotope experiments in the biological sciences. This review discusses the current and future uses of enriched stable isotope experiments in biological systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-554
Number of pages14
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number2
Early online date5 Oct 2007
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • bioanalytical methods
  • mass spectrometry
  • ICP-MS
  • trace elements
  • inductively-coupled plasma
  • mass-spectrometry
  • calcium-absorption
  • species transformation
  • cholesterol absorption
  • mercury isotopes
  • ratio measurements
  • dilution analysis
  • iron-absorption


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