The laboratory analyses the main chemical nutrient forms in water. It is highly specialized on marine samples that require high precision and sensitivity (low detection limits).

In particular, it estimates the concentration of inorganic nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate, silicate), total nitrogen and phosphorus, total and dissolved organic carbon. Furthermore, the Service is open to the scientific community to incorporate new chemical determinations as possible. In all cases, direct communication with the users is fundamental to achieve the best scientific results.

The Service is offered to both public and private institutions, with flexible working time to guarantee the analysis of fresh samples as possible consistently with the timings of scientific research. Support to oceanographic cruises and experiments is also, including advise on sampling procedures, manipulation, preservation and maintenance of samples.

The Service contributes to training (at different student levels) and outreach initiatives lead by the ICM in collaboration with other academic and public institutions.

All the applied methods are official and approved. A present objective of the Service is to achieve the ENAC accreditation (ISO 17025) and AENOR (ISO 9001) certification. Care is taken to conduct routine calibrations for each analysis and analytical instruments and the laboratory participates on periodic intercalibration exercises under international initiatives (e.g. Quasimeme, JAMSTEC, CSIRO).

For TOC/TN determination Certified Reference Material is used. The calibrations of the basic gravimetric (analytical balances) and volumetric (automatic pipettes) instruments are verified annually following ENAC.

The Milli-Q Integral A10 Waters Millipore equipment of the Service is designed to produce ultrapure water following the specifications of type I water described by ISO® 3696 and ASTM® D1193.

The instruments performance is checked annually by the Maintenance Service of the corresponding commercial company (i.e. Seal Analytical, Shimadzu, Jasco, Julabo, Waters Millipore) to warrant the quality of the analyses.

The Service conducts the renovation of the equipment and software periodically.

Technical resources and equipment
  • AA3 HR Seal Analytical, continuous flow analysis (CFA), for the determination of inorganic nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, silicate) coupled to a Jasco FP 2020 fluorometer for the determination of ammonia.
  • AA3 Seal Analytical, continuous flow analysis (CFA), with Julabo Digestor for the determination of total nitrogen and phosphorus.
  • TOC-CSH/TN Shimadzu for organic carbon and total nitrogen determination.