Biological accelerator mass spectrometry at Uppsala University.
Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) traces isotopically labeled biochemicals and provides significant new directions for understanding molecular kinetics and dynamics in biological systems. AMS traces low-abundance radioisotopes for high specificity but detects them with MS for high sensitivity. AMS reduces radiation exposure doses to levels safe for use in human volunteers of all ages. Total radiation exposures are equivalent to those obtained in very short airplane flights, a commonly accepted radiation risk. Waste products seldom reach the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) definition of radioactive waste material for (14)C and (3)H. Attomoles of labeled compounds are quantified in milligram-sized samples, such as 20 microl of blood. AMS is available from several facilities that offer services and new spectrometers that are affordable. Detailed examples of designing AMS studies are provided, and the methods of analyzing AMS data are outlined.