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Analytical Services

The analytical chemistry lab at UMBS in 2017.

The analytical chemistry lab at the University of Michigan Biological Station (in Pellston, Michigan) performs a wide variety of analyses of soil, water, and air samples. Using state of the art equipment, we process samples for our researchers, students, and the public (U-M and non-U-M clients). Notably, we operate the only stable isotope lab in the northern lower peninsula.

Services Offered

  • Sample Processing
  • Chemical Safety Training course
  • Equipment training
  • Soil, water, air sample analysis

For questions regarding our laboratory capabilities, detection limits, or methodology, contact:

Available Equipment


We have a pair of segmented flow analyzers routinely used for determining nutrients in water and soil extracts. A variety of other automated and semi-automated colorimetric assays (e.g., total phenolics, enzyme activity) may be automated on these instruments as well.


Our lab is equipped with a Perkin-Elmer ELAN DRC-e ICP/MS which may be operated in standard mode, or with a dynamic reaction cell. This instrument allows for the determination of metals, metalloids, and their isotopes in aqueous or digested samples down to ppt concentrations.

Direct Mercury Analyzer

Our Millenium DMA-80 is used to quantitate total mercury in solid samples to exceedingly low concentrations (ng/kg).

IR Mass Spectrometer

Stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen are determined on a Finnigan Delta V mass spectrometer. Samples can be introduced through an elemental analyzer, Gas Bench, GC/MS, or TOC analyzer.


When stable isotopes are not required, our three elemental analyzers can be run as standalone instruments to provide CHN and CN-OH analyses.


We use a Thermo Trace 1310 gas chromatograph equipped with a both a SSL inlet and a combination purge and trap, dynamic headspace, and thermal desorption frontend. A Thermo ISQ-LT single quadrupole mass spec provides quantitative and qualitative analyses of volatiles and semivolatiles. Both the SSL and the PT/TD frontend can be used for compound-specific isotopic analysis with unambiguous compound ID (irm-GC/MS).


We offer both preparative and analytical HPLC capabilities with UV-Vis and refractive index detection.


We have both single- and triple-quadrupole LC/MS capabilities for the determination of small molecules (m/z 10-3000).