Articles | Volume 17, issue 19
Biogeosciences, 17, 4785–4795, 2020
Biogeosciences, 17, 4785–4795, 2020

Ideas and perspectives 02 Oct 2020

Ideas and perspectives | 02 Oct 2020

Ideas and perspectives: The same carbon behaves like different elements – an insight into position-specific isotope distributions

Yuyang He et al.

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Cited articles

Antler, G., Turchyn, A. V., Rennie, V., Herut, B., and Sivan, O.: Coupled sulfur and oxygen isotope insight into bacterial sulfate reduction in the natural environment, Geochim. Cosmochim. Ac., 118, 98–117,, 2013. 
Arehart, G. B., Kesler, S. E., O'Neil, J. R., and Foland, K.: Evidence for the supergene origin of alunite in sediment-hosted micron gold deposits, Nevada, Econ. Geol., 87, 263–270,, 1992. 
Bao, H., Cao, X., and Hayles, J. A.: The confines of triple oxygen isotope exponents in elemental and complex mass-dependent processes, Geochim. Cosmochim. Ac., 170, 39–50,, 2015. 
Bao, H., Cao, X., and Hayles, J. A.: Triple Oxygen Isotopes: Fundamental Relationships and Applications, Annu. Rev. Earth Pl. Sc., 44, 463–492,, 2016. 
Barbacci, A., Magnenet, V., and Lahaye, M.: Thermodynamical journey in plant biology, Front. Plant Sci., 6, 481,, 2015. 
Short summary
Different carbon sites in a large organic molecule have different isotope compositions. Different carbon sites may not have the chance to exchange isotopes at all. The lack of appreciation of this notion might be blamed for an unsettled debate on the thermodynamic state of an organism. Here we demonstrate using minerals, N2O, and acetic acid that the dearth of exchange among different carbon sites renders them as independent as if they were different elements in organic molecules.
Final-revised paper