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Department of Veterinary Medicine Research Facilities


Making the most of over 25 years of experience in quantitative elemental analysis by inductively couple plasma (ICP) techniques to answer bio-clinical and environmental research questions, the Trace Element Analysis Facility offers expert advice to research groups and companies on quantitative element analysis, as well as sample preparation and analysis on a collaborative or fee-for-service basis. 

To discuss any aspect of these services, please contact

What we offer

  • Elemental/isotopic analysis
  • Single particle analysis
  • Single or multi-elements 
  • Semi- and full-quantitative analysis
  • Heavy metals analysis
  • Impurity analysis

Samples we routinely analyse

  • Water, foods and feeds
  • Materials and minerals
  • Whole blood, serum/plasma, urine, skin, bone, intestinal and other tissues
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Samples from in vitro assays

Analytical concentration range

ppt (ng/L) to ppm (mg/L) - depending on element and sample type

Core instruments

Current state-of-the-art Agilent triple quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (8900 ICP-MS/MS) and Horiba Jobin Yvon inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (Ultima 2c).  

The latest microwave digestion technology in the Milestone UltraWave single reaction chamber microwave digestion system.

All housed in a clean and purpose designed trace element room.

Sample prep requirement

Liquid/aqueous samples should ideally be acidified (1-5%  nitric acid) to keep elements (metals) in solution.

Solid specimens should be destructed with nitric acid or in combination with hydrogen peroxide. The final solutions for analysis should ideally contain 1% nitric acid and < 0.2% dissolved salts/solid matter.

We offer advice on sample preparation (i.e. digestion) and/or provide the complete sample prep and analysis package. Please contact us to discuss further. 

Indicative cost

From £7 to £27 per sample, however this depends on the number and frequency of samples, instrument, number of elements and sample prep requirements.