Chemical analysis

A diverse range of routine and bespoke inorganic and organic analyses.

Sector: Aquaculture,   Extractive Industries,   The Environment

The chemistry used in these analyses can be used to qualify and quantify organic and inorganic contaminants / pollutants in a variety of matrices including, but not limited to waters, chemicals and soils.

Chemical analysis has many different uses including:

  • Harbour Sediment analysis 
  • Waste Acceptance Criteria testing 
  • Quantifying contaminants in food and drink 
  • Potable water analysis
  • Pesticides and foodstuffs additives 
  • Environment impairing compounds
  • Petroleum industry derived organics

Samples might also come from a variety of industrial processes or applied research projects or be part of a bespoke analysis catering to specific requirements.

The laboratory can also advise on statistical sampling strategies and provide data interpretation in relation to regulatory limits and toxicity.


  • Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Gas Chromatography - Flame Ionisation Detector (GC-FID)
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Inductively Couple Plasma – Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES)
  • Inductively Couple Plasma – Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS)
  • Low Level Mercury Analysis
  • Ion Chromatography (IC), Discrete Analyser, Total Organic Carbon
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

There are also numerous bench chemistry techniques available including spectrophotometry, titrations, chromium speciation, Monier Williams method, ion specific electrometric techniques and Karl Fisher titration.

Specific Analyses

  • Major inorganic anions such as Fluoride (F-), Chloride (Cl-), Bromide (Br-), Nitrate (NO3- ) and Sulphate (SO42-)
  • Total Inorganic/Organic Carbon (TIC/TOC) and Total Nitrogen (TN) content of water samples.
  • Colourimetric analysis using almost any recognised colourimetric technique to determine ammonium, soluble reactive phosphorus and total alkalinity content.
  • PLFA analysis to investigate the bacterial and fungal populations of soils 
  • Pigment composition analysis to provide information on the biomass of waters
  • Organic contaminants from industrial processes (e.g. PAHs, PCBs, PBDEs, POPs, EDCs) for compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Organic additives in foodstuffs. 
  • Characterisation and composition of oilfield compounds and materials. 


  • Shimadzu Total Carbon/Nitrogen Analyser
  • OI Analytical (high salt) TOC analyser
  • Perkin Elmer Optima 5300DV ICP-OES
  • Konelab Discrete Analyser
  • 2 x Dionex Ion Chromatography Systems
  • Agilent 7700 ICP-MS
  • Thermo Trace DSQ and Trace MS GC-MS
  • 2 x Agilent Series 1100 HPLC systems
  • 2 x Agilent 6890N GC-FID
  • 2 x Agilent GC-MS Systems
  • Shimadzu UV-1800 Spectrophotometer


The James Hutton Institute analytical laboratories operate to the standards required by UKAS accreditation and many of our routine techniques are accredited.  A full accreditation schedule can be found at

Our ability to perform a huge variety of techniques means that in general a one-off analysis may not be accredited but our total commitment to high standards ensures it will be carried out to the exacting specifications that accreditation requires.

Contact us for further information. 

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Case Studies

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Chemical compatibility testing of injected fluids with umbilical liners.

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