Environmental Analytical Research and Carbon Laboratories

Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES)

Model – 725 radial viewed ICPOES with mass flow controller.

Software – ICP Expert

The 725 Radial viewed ICPOES is capable of measuring total elemental analysis on particulate free liquid samples from 175nm to 785nm. Full wavelength coverage means spectral interferences are avoided and simultaneous operation gives better precision, improved background correction and higher productivity. Total time for analysis ranges from 3-6 minutes per sample depending on the method chosen.

Method development is easily implemented on the ICP-OES but the most current complex methods available include:

  • Nitric acid plant digestions for total P, S, K, Mg, Ca, Na, Al, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Mo, B
  • Soil sediment analysis in 40% aqua regia for Al, As, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, P, Pb, S, Sb, Zn.
  • Total Archeometric analysis of ceramics in 40% sulphuric acid for Al, Ag, As, Ca, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Dy, Fe, Ga, Hf, K, La, Li, Mg, Mn, Na, Nb, Nd, Ni, P, Pb, Rb, S, Sc, Si, Sm, Sr, Th, Ti, U, V, Y, Yb, Zn, Zr.

Near Infrared Analyser

Model – 6500 scanning reflectance detector near infrared spectrophotometer

Software – Vision 3.5 Service Pack4

NIRS is a technique whereby light energy is passed through a sample and used to make chemical assessments. Only stretching and bending vibrations are observed in NIR. Bond strength and atomic weight determine the frequency at which specific vibrations occur i.e. light atoms vibrate at higher frequency than heavy ones and strong bonds vibrate at a higher frequency than weak ones. Scanning range is from 400-2500nm. NIR is a non-destructive analytical method, which maintains sample integrity. It requires minimal sample preparation and takes less than 60 seconds per analysis with 32 scans per sample. Between 1-10 grams of ground (<1mm) and dried (80OC) sample is required for scanning depending on the sample cup type that is used.

Calibrations have been set up for pasture, corn, wheat, barley, lupins, lucerne, oats, rice and sorghum with various constituents of interest being nitrogen, acid detergent fiber, dry matter, starch and digestibility.

Liquid Scintillation Counter

Model - Tri-Carb 2810TR Liquid Scintillation Analyzer

This technique is used for the measurement of beta emitting nuclides, for example 35S and 32P. The sample containing the radionuclide is dissolved in a suitable scintillation solution. The discrete flashes of light (photons) generated by the interaction of the radiation and the scintillant are accurately counted using a photomultiplier. LSC is very efficient and has the advantage that the light output is proportional to the energy of the initiating event. This means that they frequently can be used to identify mixtures of nuclides in the same sample.

The LSC allows a system of sample spectrum analysis that provides quench determination and dpm calculation for either single or dual label samples without using an external standard source. Spectrum unfolding is also available.

The LSC is capable of manual isotope energy selection with resolution of 0.1 KeV and preset regions for 3H, 14C, 125I, 32P, 35S, 3H/14C, 3H/32P and 3H/125I.

Total Organic Carbon Analyser

Model - Sievers InnovOx Laboratory Total Organic Carbon Analyzer

Provides versatile measurement of total Inorganic carbon, non-purgeable organic carbon, total carbon and total organic carbon by difference (TC-TIC). Concentration ranges from 0.5 to 50,000ppm TOC. This instrument uses super critical water oxidation (SCWO) to achieve TOC recoveries regardless of the organic compounds and particulate impurities in the sample.

Varian Custom Green House Gas Analyser

Model - GC450 with CombiPal autosampler

Software:- MS Workstation Version 6.9.3

This instrument is for the analysis of headspace gases only. It takes a minimum injection of 2mL for the simultaneous analysis of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20). Each sample takes 10 minutes to complete the analysis. It is isothermal and operates at 50oC so there is no need for temperature programming.

The instrument has 3 fixed detectors:- TCD, FID and ECD

This system can be expanded to include the determination of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Sulphur compounds are polar, highly reactive and usually occur in low concentrations.

LECO Carbon and Nitrogen Elemental Analyzer

Model - TruSpec Simultaneous Carbon and Nitrogen Elemental Analyzer

The LECO TruSpec is a dry combustion type with infrared detection for carbon and thermal conductivity detection for nitrogen. It is computer driven with the option to operate with an interfaced balance and a 30 position auto-sampler, which allows for up to 2 hours of unattended operation.

The instrument is primarily used to analyse soil and vegetation samples although it has also been used for fertilizer, animal feeds, animal tissue, plant litter, faecal matter, and wastewater effluents.

The nominal sample size is 0.1 gram for vegetation and 0.2 gram for soils. Samples up to 0.5 gram of vegetation or 1.0 gram of soil may be analysed. The detection limit is approximately 100 ppm at a 1 gram sample size. Typical precision is a coefficient of variation of about 2.5% at nominal sample size (assuming %C = 2.5 and %N= 0.25 for soils, %C = 42 and %N = 2.5 for plants, lower concentrations will have lower precision).

Analysis time is 4 minutes per sample allowing for up to 100 samples to be analysed per day.

Carbon ranges from 0.005% to 50%

Nitrogen ranges from 0.008% to 100%

Analysis time is approx. 4 minutes.

Ion Chromatography

Model – ICS-2000

The Dionex ion chromatography system ICS-2000 is used for the analysis of aqueous samples in parts per million or parts per billion for common anions such as fluoride, chlorite, chloride, nitrite, carbonate, bromide, sulphate, nitrate, chlorate and phosphate.Separation is by hydroxide eluents, using online generation.

Using Reagent Free Eluent Generation, it is possible to use potassium hydroxide for anions (MSA for cations), and columns which are now designed for use of this eluent. The potassium hydroxide is suppressed by ion exchange (in a reverse of the generation) after the column, back to water, whilst the analyte is converted from its salt form to its acid form, with a higher conductivity. Therefore, this higher conductivity occurs on a virtually non existent chemical baseline (< 0.5 micro siemens). Detection is via conductivity and/or a UV flow through cell.

Sample throughput is typically 10 to 15 min for standard suite of anions. However, the availability of concentration gradients automatically through the eluent generation via software control means that analytes eluting close to each other can be pushed further apart and analytes that stay longer on the column can be eluted earlier, or analytes of no interest can be 'washed' out. Use of the autosampler, increases productivity with up to 100 samples analysed unattended.

Aqueous samples require filtration and/or dilution for analysis. The minimum sample required is 10mL.

Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometer (IRMS)

Model – Sercon 20-22 continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer connected to the ANCA-GSL sample preparation unit.

Software - Sercon Callisto software.

The 20-22 from Sercon is a dedicated continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer (quadrupole) which forms the engine of hyphenated stable isotope measurement techniques. The 20-22 analyser offers the highest accuracy and precision for stable isotope analysis..

The ANCA-GSL module allows samples such as soil, viscous liquids, plant material and organic compounds, to be analysed directly by utilizing Dumas combustion for 15N, 13C & 34S or pyrolysis for 18O and D. It also allows isotope analysis of abundant gases from septum sealed containers.

An extensive range of automated sample preparation units (gas, liquid and solid) gives the researcher the flexibility to measure 15N, 13C, 18O and 34S 2H and other species in a host of applications

San++  Automated Wet Chemistry Analyzer

Model - San++ Automated Wet Chemistry Analyzer

The Skalar San++continuous flow analyzer can perform a wide variety of wet biochemical determinations. Up to two determinations can be performed simultaneously and interchangeability of tests is extensive.

Operation of the Skalar San++ analyzer is based upon the principles of continuous flow analysis. Samples are placed on a sample tray and are sequentially aspirated into a continuous flowing analytical stream. A wash solution is introduced between each sample for sample separation. The analyses are continuous and automatic. The spectrophotometric output of the Skalar systems produce a curve that is converted to concentration units by the use of FlowAccess Software.

Current methodologies include nitrate/nitrite, ammonia, chloride, phosphorus, urea and glucose.

Respirometer

Model - RESPICOND VII

Software Version:- WinPRsp Version 1.2

The respirometer is capable of measuring basal respiration (addition of water) and soil microbial biomass (addition of glucose to the soil). In total this would take approx. 10 days to complete both depending on the soil fertility itself. Approx. 96 individual soil samples can be determined each time.

RESPICOND VII measures the evolution of CO2 by capturing it in KOH. This results in a decrease of the conductance in a hydroxide solution, which is measured with platinum electrodes in each incubation vessel. RESPICOND VII has a highly insulated water bath partitioned into two halves with 48 sample chambers each. The temperature in each partition can be independently controlled at least between 4o and 30oC.

Versatile control software monitors each incubation vessel during the experiments. Plotting and listing functions are accessible at all times during the experiments. Data can be plotted as conductance (mS), mg accumulated CO2 and mg CO2per hour, all three of which can be viewed in the listing window together with time. The latest scan for all the 96 vessels can also be viewed in these three ways plus a number of parameters that enable you to judge the precision of the measurements.

Microwave Digestor

Model – Ultrawave Single Reaction Chamber Microwave Digestion System

Milestone Ultrawave microwave digestion system for elemental extraction from a broad range of samples including soil, plant materials, biochars, composts, ceramics, stonewares, feedstocks, faeces and rock. It is capable of processing different digestion chemistries within the same run, under the same temperature/pressure conditions.

The Ultrawave applies new technology for elemental extraction using higher temperature and pressure in a single vessel with improved efficiency and consistency. Key benefits include ease of use, faster sample cooling, increased sample throughput (no need to filter, disposable vessels available), improved element extraction, lower variability and lower operating costs with increased productivity and higher performance.

It allows for geological and biochar sample digestion and shows significantly improved, increased and safer sample throughput.

Root Scanner

WinRhizo is an image analysis system specifically designed for root measurement. It can do morphology (length, area, volume etc.), topology, architecture and color. It is composed of computer program and an Epson flatbed scanner.

Each sample is pre-stained using 0.05% Toluidine Blue solution. More extensive use includes obtaining data other than length and diameter. Data analysis is carried out using the WinRhizo software.