Water Quality Centre

The Trent Water Quality Centre is the most comprehensive mass spectrometry facility in Canada.  We specialize in method development and the application of new and innovative techniques for measuring isotopes and trace amounts of organic and inorganic contaminants in water and other environmental compartments.  We offer analytical services and mass spectrometer training courses to researchers, government agencies and private companies. 

Our analyses include:

  • compound specific isotope analyses
  • stable isotopes (eg. δ13C, δ15N, δ18O, 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)
  • methyl-Hg
  • 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), a Thermo Trace 1300 GC-MS, and a Nu Horizon (for δ13C, δ15N analyses and compound specific IR analysis).

»Learn more about our mass spectrometers.

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
  • measurement of nanoparticles
  • 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

If you are interested in collaboration, training courses or »analytical services, please contact us.