Carbon dating of bacteria
Since Lowe's paper, there have been many more reports of deep subterranean bacteria, which apparently form a heretofore unrecognized ecosystem deep below the earth in rocks and in oils (abstracts below).
Presumably most of these bacteria never interact with the "modern" C.
(In fact that's the more common use of scintillant.
I use scintillant every day in my own work to detect H-tagged hormones.
Apparently it correlates best with the content of the natural radioactivity of the rocks surrounding the fossil fuels, particularly the neutron- and alpha-particle-emitting isotopes of the uranium-thorium series. Gove and his colleagues told me they think the evidence so far demonstrates that C by local radioactive decay of the uranium-thorium series.
Many studies verify that coals vary widely in uranium-thorium content, and that this can result in inflated content of certain isotopes relevant to radiometric dating (see abstracts below).
The presence of C in coal is probably produced de novo by radioactive decay of the uranium-thorium isotope series that is naturally found in rocks (and which is found in varying concentrations in different rocks, hence the variation in C dating.
I picked him to bother with my emails because he had recently written some nice review articles about the AMS technique in the Radiocarbon journal.
Since the halflife of carbon-14 is 5,730 years, any that was present in the coal at the time of formation should have long since decayed to stable daughter products. "Ion Beam Preparation Systems for Atomic Isobar Reduction in Accelerator Mass Spectrometry." 2001. But I only use a milliliter at a time - the concept of 800 tons really boggles the mind! So, the physics community has gotten interested in finding out whether and why fossil fuels have native radioactivity. The aim is to find fossil fuels that have a or less; below that, neutrino activity can be reliably detected. We made an attempt to summarize all the present data on the relationships between the cell volume, its dry weight, and the carbon content.Thus, the principal goal of the present study was searching for a generally applicable or methodology-dependent converting factor for the bacterial biomass calculation.