Radiolabeling is a scientific technique used to track the passage of a molecule. The technique incorporates a radioisotope through a reaction, cell, organism, biological system, or metabolic pathway. The reactant is labeled by replacing specific atoms by their isotope.
Carbon is a significant element that has been used for many purposes for years. One major purpose is radiocarbon dating, as developed by physicist Willard F. Libby around 1946.
Many radioactive isotopes can be used in radiolabeling, but carbon-14 is the most common one. This guide gives you the reasons why carbon-14 is usually considered first for radiolabeling.
Defined Labeled Positions
Despite the existence of many radiolabeled compounds, carbon-14 is mostly used as it has defined labeled position(s). If you are experimenting using carbon-14, you can pick the exact location of the label within the molecule.
For this reason, carbon-14 is the most used radiolabel compound in studies of drug discovery, drug metabolism, and pharmacokinetics. Carbon naturally exists in many drug molecules, and thus it provides better radiolabeling sites.
Also, it is more stable than other radioisotopes. Therefore 14C labeling offers better stability, and it makes studies simpler as it is easy to locate a labeling position.
A Long Half-Life
C14 radiolabeling is common due to the long half-life of carbon-14. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years; therefore, it is used for long term studies. Scientists do not need to correct any decay when using carbon for radiolabelling. Many scientific experiments are usually long term, especially those in universities because it is costly to conduct a test every month.
Therefore, one test is usually used to teach almost all classes. Therefore, it is vital to use a radiolabeling compound that will serve all those classes without tainting the experiment at any point.
It Emits Low Energy Beta
Compared to other radioisotopes, carbon-14 produces lower energy beta emissions. This means that it is safe to use it for radiolabeling. With it being safe, it is used to test GMP standards and GLP testing laboratories.
All food and drug industries should have laboratories that have reached GMP and GLP standards, which are set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, it is dangerous to use radioisotopes that release higher beta emissions for experiments, and this is not allowed by the FDA. Therefore, industries need to be safe by using carbon-14.
Compounds can be Prepared Using Tailored Custom Synthesis
Production of the isotope to be used in the radiolabeling process plays an important role. Producing other types of radioisotopes is complicated as they involve many steps processes. On the other hand, carbon production is practical in that its compounds can even be prepared using tailored custom synthesis. Carbon can be custom prepared during GMP synthesis.
This shows that C14 radiolabeling is a reliable process as carbon-14 is always available in a lab in high amounts to run hundreds of experiments. 14C labeled material is a prerequisite for some studies, and thus it is essential always to have carbon-14 on standby in labs.
Easy to Move Carbon Atoms
C14 radiolabeling is easy to conduct because it is easy to move carbon atoms as needed. The fact that these atoms can be moved in any direction means that the compound being studied can easily be incorporated on to the carbon-14. This makes C14 radiolabeling the most effective procedure in food studies and drug development.
Wide range of Experiments
C14 radiolabeling is effective as carbon can be used in a wide range of experiments involving different atoms. Carbon-14 can also be used to label compounds which have ring structures, a quality which is not common in other radioisotopes.
C14 radiolabeling is a technique that is widely used in science. Carbon-14 is the most chosen radioisotope when it comes to radiolabeling. This guide gives you the reasons as to why carbon-14 is preferred to other radioisotopes.