Water Quality Centre
The Water Quality Centre (WQC) is the most comprehensive mass spectrometry facility in Canada, possibly in North America. Instruments in the Centre are used to measure concentrations and abundances of atoms, elements and/or compounds by measuring the mass to charge (+ or -) values of ions. We can determine very, very low levels of elements such as mercury, lead, zinc, cadmium, copper, nickel in water and other environmental media, such as soils, sediments, aquatic biota (fish, algae, insects, mussels), etc. We also undertake product identification and quantitation of organic compounds, for example, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and other emerging contaminants (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen, caffeine, triclosan, estrogens, etc).
The instruments in the Centre are used by researchers - staff, faculty, graduate students and even under-graduate students – associated with many departments at Trent, i.e., TSE, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Anthropology, ENLS.
Our analyses include:
- compound specific isotope analyses
- stable isotopes (eg. C/N, 18O/16O, Mg, Si, Fe, Zn, Hg, U) and radiogenic (eg. Sr, Pb, Nd) isotope ratios
- single particle analysis
- metal(oid) speciation (eg. Se, As, Cr)
- emerging contaminants (eg. pharmaceuticals, personal care products)
- volatile fatty acids (VFAs)
- total Hg (no sample preparation required for solids)
- transition metal scans
- determination of low concentrations (ppt or ppq) of most metals
- P, S, Ca, Mg, Na, K analyses
Don't be fooled by our name!
Biological material (food products, plants, invertebrates, bird eggs and feathers, fur), sediments, soils, fly ash, municipal wastewaters, industrial by-products and process waters, also can be analysed.
We have expanded!
We outgrew our first lab and expanded into a second lab. The original lab now houses our ICP-MS's including: a Varian 820, Thermo XSeries, Agilent 8800, Nu Attom, Nu Plasma 2 and Nu Plasma 1700 in addition to a Teledyne Leeman Prodigy ICP-OES. The second lab, located just down the hall, houses our 'organic' MS's including: an AB Sciex Q-Trap 5500, Thermo Orbitrap Q-Exactive, Bruker SolarixXR FTICR (the first in Canada), Isoprime CF-IRMS (for delta C/N analysis) and a Nu Horizon (for compound specific IR analysis).
Research areas at the Centre include:
- cycling of trace metals (e.g., uranium) in lakes and catchments
- source partitioning of mercury input into lakes
- new methods to measure radioactive elements at ambient levels
- the release of pharmaceuticals from waste treatment facilities
- analysis of proteomes
- metal(oid) speciation analysis
- isotope ratio determination
- lake ecosystem nanosliver project (LENS)
- metabolites of ash trees attacked by the Emerald Ash Borer
- binding of ligands to proteins
- identifying and quantifying plant hormones (eg. cytokinins)
In total, researchers at the Water Quality Centre have been successful in winning nine major Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awards.