Research Topic

Advances in Metals and Trace Elements Isotopes Measurements, Experiments and Application in Environmental Sciences

About this Research Topic

The isotopic composition of trace metals and elements can, depending on the case, be used to characterize the sources of emission and to trace the physicochemical processes that these elements undergo. Precise measurements of trace metals and elements and their isotopic compositions are prerequisites for such research issues. Regarding the processes leading to fractionation between isotopes and thereby to a modification of the isotopic composition, the main mechanisms of isotopic fractionations result from physicochemical reactions such as redox transformations, the dissolution or precipitation of minerals and/or neoformed phases (oxy-hydroxides) during surface environment evaluation. Added to this are the effects associated with living organisms which, for their development, can integrate certain metals into their metabolism and be the cause of isotopic fractionations. The development of multi-collector inductively coupled plasma instruments (MC-ICP-MS) has made it possible to accurately and repeatably measure the isotopic composition of trace metals whose (small) variations in composition obey the laws of fractionation of stable isotopes.

This Research Topic aims to promote specific studies: stable and meta-stable isotopes of metals and trace elements that have been recently developed and integrated into environmental sciences and pollution research. Isotopic composition of trace metals and elements requires methodological development in order to be applicable to various environments, from pristine to more polluted. In addition, the isotopic information should provide insight into both the environmental sources and the physico-chemical and biological pathways of these elements. Biogeochemical transformations may also lead to isotopic fractionation extent that can be further traceable in the environment. Altogether, isotopic composition combined with speciation of trace elements and metals is important information that could be used to investigate their pathways and impact.

The scope of this Research Topic is intended to address specific investigations related to both trace elements and metals method development and the study of their potential applications in environmental and pollution sciences. Sub-themes include, but are not limited to:

• New approaches to study trace metals and elements isotopic signature in the environment or in contaminated sites
• Tracing or apportioning anthropogenic and natural sources in the environment
• Determining isotopic fractionation extent during biological, biogeochemical, or man-induced processes


Keywords: trace metals, trace elements, isotopes, environment, pollution, biogeochemistry, fractionation, analytical methods, applications, apportioning, anthropogenic sources, natural sources


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The isotopic composition of trace metals and elements can, depending on the case, be used to characterize the sources of emission and to trace the physicochemical processes that these elements undergo. Precise measurements of trace metals and elements and their isotopic compositions are prerequisites for such research issues. Regarding the processes leading to fractionation between isotopes and thereby to a modification of the isotopic composition, the main mechanisms of isotopic fractionations result from physicochemical reactions such as redox transformations, the dissolution or precipitation of minerals and/or neoformed phases (oxy-hydroxides) during surface environment evaluation. Added to this are the effects associated with living organisms which, for their development, can integrate certain metals into their metabolism and be the cause of isotopic fractionations. The development of multi-collector inductively coupled plasma instruments (MC-ICP-MS) has made it possible to accurately and repeatably measure the isotopic composition of trace metals whose (small) variations in composition obey the laws of fractionation of stable isotopes.

This Research Topic aims to promote specific studies: stable and meta-stable isotopes of metals and trace elements that have been recently developed and integrated into environmental sciences and pollution research. Isotopic composition of trace metals and elements requires methodological development in order to be applicable to various environments, from pristine to more polluted. In addition, the isotopic information should provide insight into both the environmental sources and the physico-chemical and biological pathways of these elements. Biogeochemical transformations may also lead to isotopic fractionation extent that can be further traceable in the environment. Altogether, isotopic composition combined with speciation of trace elements and metals is important information that could be used to investigate their pathways and impact.

The scope of this Research Topic is intended to address specific investigations related to both trace elements and metals method development and the study of their potential applications in environmental and pollution sciences. Sub-themes include, but are not limited to:

• New approaches to study trace metals and elements isotopic signature in the environment or in contaminated sites
• Tracing or apportioning anthropogenic and natural sources in the environment
• Determining isotopic fractionation extent during biological, biogeochemical, or man-induced processes


Keywords: trace metals, trace elements, isotopes, environment, pollution, biogeochemistry, fractionation, analytical methods, applications, apportioning, anthropogenic sources, natural sources


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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