Carbon content

Basic element for all living organisms and constituent of minerals, e.g. limestone

Carbon is one of the most abundant elements on earth. In its elementary form it occurs in different structural forms, e.g. as graphite, diamond and amorphous carbon. Carbon compounds are the basis of all living organisms on earth. Moreover, some minerals contain carbon.

For the characterisation of samples (e.g. soil, suspended particulate matter, water) as well as for the interpretation of contamination data it is relevant to determine the carbon content of the sample and to differentiate between inorganic and organic carbon compounds.


Total Carbon (TC) The total carbon content of a sample comprises the carbon of all inorganic and organic compounds and free carbon.
Total Organic Carbon (TOC) The TOC content in a sample is a measure for the organic matter which comprises all living and dead biomass.
Total Inorganic Carbon (TIC) The TIC of a sample is a measure for the inorganic carbon compounds like carbon dioxide, carbonates and bicarbonates.


Suspended particulate matter Fine insoluble mineral or organic particles in the water phase
Soil Soil is livelihood and biosphere for humans, animals, plants and soil organisms. All the substances brought in are transported, transformed and/or accumulated in the soil.

Sampling area

BR/NP Berchtesgaden The only high mountains national park in Germany and an area of the Limestone Alps with international relevance
Saarländischer Verdichtungsraum Important, old-industrialised conurbation in Germany.
Bornhöveder Seengebiet Main water divide between the North- and Baltic Sea
Rhein Longest river in Germany
NP Bayerischer Wald Germany's first national park
Elbe Fourth largest river basin in Central Europe
Verdichtungsraum Halle-Leipzig Region in the chemical triangle of Central Germany
NP Harz Germany's largest forest national park
Solling Second highest and largest low mountain range in Northern Germany
BR Pfälzerwald Germany's largest connected forest area in a range of low mountains
Oberbayerisches Tertiärhügelland The Upper Bavarian Tertiary Uplands are a part of the Southern German Molasse Basin
Donau Second largest river in Europe

Sampling period

2002 - 2017