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Environmental Analysis Laboratory

EAL News

EAL sponsors the inaugural National Biological Farming Conference in Cairns, 2016

biological farming banner The 2016 National Biological Farming Conference is taking place in Cairns, Queensland, from the 28th to 30th October. The two day conference is followed by on-farm workshops through The Cairns Institute (James Cook University). This conference offers a huge range of options for agricultural change.

EAL is a foundation sponsor for the event and will be hosting a booth at the Expo. The conference facilitates the sharing of important information on the success and future potential for major changes in agriculture. The EAL booth will be managed by Kris Saville, our Agricultural Co-ordinator. Kris will be available to discuss how our analytical testing can be used to actively manage your farming systems.

At EAL we started in chemical analysis, associated with biological and organic farming, to quantify the benefits and sustainability of this natural farming practise. Within the School of Environment, Science and Engineering, at Southern Cross University, we were routinely exposed to the negative environmental impacts from traditional farming practices and instantly realised the need for major improvements in the industry.

For further information on agricultural soil and plant testing you can call Kris Saville on 0437 016 017. To discuss the use of Australian Standards compost and growing media testing please contact Brian Smith on 0437 016 091.

A new look website for EAL

EAL website EAL has created a new look website, making it easier to navigate to the information you need.

  • Our range of testing is now filed under Analytical Services.
  • Sample submission details, chain of custody, courier and postal addresses, analytical charges and turn-around times are all detailed under Sample Submission and Pricing.
  • Our Downloads section provides a collection of guides and fact sheets to assist you in sample collection, choice of analytical suites and interpretation of data
  • Contact information is now available for each of our areas of specialty, improving your access to personalised service.

Fast agricultural soil testing delivers quality results in half the time

EAL is proud to announce a rapid testing service enabling us to produce reports much quicker than before. You have requested the change and we have listened. We are now able to provide quality analytical data in half the time, thanks to a couple of small processing changes.

We have placed a focus on reducing the aggregate size of samples before drying, reducing oven time and allowing samples to be tested much sooner. We have also put funds into automating our instrumentation for a high throughput of samples. Installing an ESI FAST auto-sampler system on our Perkin Elmer ICPOES is an example of one of the setups that allows rapid sample analysis and data delivery.

For further information on agricultural soil and plant testing you can call Kris Saville on 0437 016 017.

agricultural soil testing

EAL at the Waste 2016 Conference - Australia's leading Waste Management Conference

Waste Conference 2016 Waste 2016, Australia's leading Waste and Management Conference, celebrated its 20th Anniversary from 3rd to 5th May, 2016. The three day conference was held in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

The conference provided the opportunity to look at current waste management issues and to see where the industry is heading into the future. It provided insight into waste minimisation and the education initiatives being implemented by Councils across Australia.

EAL teamed up with the School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University (SCU) to provide gold sponsorship and present EAL's involvement in waste testing, as an exhibitor.

EAL has been involved with various waste industries, particularly in relation to compost production, for over two decades and offers an extensive range of analytical services for raw waste products and the finished compost. The raw waste products have a large diversity and should always be considered a valuable resource for use in industry. We often see waste go from a cost to a valuable commodity. Waste Management is a new course featured in the undergraduate degree at SCU.

Biological farming through EAL - an editorial

EAL contributed an editorial on biological farming to the 2016 Farm Guides (pdf).

EAL specialises in trace metals analysis in seawater

Seawater is notoriously difficult to analyse due to matrixinterferences leading to false positives and compromised detection limits. Many laboratories face the challenge of analysing complex matrices with high total dissolved solids.To meet this challenge, EAL installed a Perkin Elmer NexION 300D Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICPMS) coupled to an ESI seaFAST sampling module. This instrument setup enables the analysis of seawater to trace (ppb) and ultra-trace (ppt) concentrations.

EAL holds NATA accreditation for this analysis and can discuss specific project requirements to provide the best possible data. To ensure the highest level of accuracy we have provided sample collection procedures (pdf) and outlined our instrument detection limits.

For further information, please contact Matt Pocock our ICP specialist on 0400 767 139.

trace metals analysis in seawater

EAL offers compost, potting mix and landscape soils testing according to Australian Standards

EAL is excited to be part of the recycled organics revolution. We have been involved in this industry for over 20 years. EAL contributes to industry development through the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA).

We offer a range of tests (pdf) to meet the requirements of Australian Standards for compost and mulch (AS4454), potting mix (AS3743) and landscape soils (AS4419). Discounted testing packs are available for each of the standards. We also customise analytical suites for initial and validation (maturity) testing on client request. We provide certificates of analysis that take into account the various exemptions and orders issued by the Environmental Protection Authority.

Each standard includes a combination of physical, chemical and contaminant tests:

  • physical - moisture, pH, EC, wettability, large particles, particle size, bulk density, toxicity, permeability, dispersibility, air-filled porosity, water holding capacity
  • chemical - total C/N, dissolved nutrients (nitrate, ammonia, phosphate), Nitrogen Drawdown Index, total and available nutrients (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, S, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, B)
  • contaminants - pathogens (faecal coliforms, salmonella), low level pesticides (OC, PCB), heavy metals (Hg, Pb, Ni, Cd, C, Se, As, Zn, Cu).

EAL also provides over 20 years' experience in agricultural, environmental and contamination testing which complements Australian Standards testing.

For further enquiries, please contact Brian Smith, our Growing Media Coordinator on 0437 016 091.

compost, potting mix testing

New testing services at EAL for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), January 2016

Human and animal hair testing has historically been sent overseas for analysis. EAL now provides rapid turn-around for analysis, right here in Australia. A suite of 32 elements has been selected, in consultation with industry experts, to suit both personal and agricultural pursuits. EAL regularly participates in international proficiency trials, with exceptional results, to ensure quality results provide peace of mind.

Hair tissue collection procedures (pdf) have been developed to ensure the highest level of accuracy. For further information, please contact us at EAL.

New metal speciation capabilities at EAL, September 2016

Speciation analysis is increasingly relevant in food, environmental and pharmaceutical products. In these applications, total elemental concentration is not enough. Separation of compounds and quantitative analysis of toxic species provides a greater understanding of environmental and health related impacts.

EAL has recently acquired a Perkin Elmer NexION 350D Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICPMS) coupled to a Flexar High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) speciation system. This instrument setup enables separation of compounds to sub parts per billion (ppb) levels. EAL can provide speciation analysis for mercury, chromium, arsenic and antimony in water, soil and biota.

For further information, please contact Matt Pocock our ICP specialist on 0400 767 139.