Tritium and Carbon-14 by Oxygen Flask Combustion

  • Jack D. Davidson
  • Vincent T. Oliverio


In the fall of 1961, with the help of Donald Buyske, then of Lederle Laboratories, our group in chemical pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute set up the technique for the oxygen flask combustion of biological samples for the determination of radiocarbon and tritium [1, 2]. After a few months’ experience we introduced a number of modifications in the technique from that originally described by Kelly et al. of the Lederle group, and we published the substance of these as a short communication the following summer [3]. During the next 4 years we continued to use this technique and have directly helped about a dozen other groups get started with this method. During these intervening years, a host of publications have appeared, detailing variations on the equipment and technique. Some offer advantages over our technique for certain purposes, but most have impressed us as involving unnecessary complication, expense, or even hazard. The purpose of this presentation is to provide a cookbook version of our entire technique that hopefully will be complete within itself and will make this simplified method of handling biological samples conveniently available to the numbers of people that we think could profitably use it.


Spot Welder Lederle Laboratory Chemical Pharmacology Iridium Wire Tritium Water 
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Copyright information

© New England Nuclear Corporation 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack D. Davidson
    • 1
  • Vincent T. Oliverio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear Medicine, Clinical Center and Laboratory of Chemical PharmacologyNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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