2017 年 51 巻 3 号 p. 135-152
This paper reviews the principles and applications of the compound-specific radiocarbon dating developed mainly during the last two decades. This methodology requires two technical challenges: 1) purification of target compounds from natural samples, and 2) small-scale radiocarbon dating with accelerator mass spectrometry. Since its establishment, the compound-specific radiocarbon dating has been successfully applied not only to geochronology of marine and lacustrine sediments, but also to various fields including biogeochemistry, environmental science, and archaeology. Here I describe some of these applications of this approach that provided unique information and revolutionized our knowledge. Variable ages of the organic compounds from the marine sediments have clearly suggested that the transport and deposition processes of the organic matter in the ocean are more complex than that had been expected. Source apportionment has also successfully conducted for organic pollutants from various environmental samples. I end this review with a call for continued efforts including technical improvements for evaluating the purity of the target compounds and extension of the target compounds to variable compounds like amino acids.