Inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry analytical services
This analytical service offered by the MU Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services should greatly benefit the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources research programs.

We have acquired an Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer ('ICP' or 'ICAP-OES'). An ICP provides 'total' elemental analysis of materials in aqueous solution, typically an acidic solution. Many different types of materials are suitable for analysis by ICP including water, soil extracts, plant or animal tissue digests, food and feed digests, chemical solutions, and many other materials that can be brought into aqueous solution.

With this state-of-the-art equipment, we can provide quantitative determination of 20 to 28 elements simultaneously in a solution with the detection limits in the parts per million (ppm) ranges. In contrast to flame emission spectroscopy, the plasma is not an oxidizing environment (like a flame) and consequently there are fewer chemical reactions to confound the analysis. The very high temperature of the plasma (10,000K) results in high emissions, minimizing the effects due to self absorption and other interferences. Also, ICP has a large linear range - around 4-6 orders of magnitude for most elements. This means that fewer dilutions are required to accommodate samples with a wide range of concentrations. Most elements found in soil extracts, plant tissue digests, whether macro, micro or trace concentrations, can be easily determined by ICP (some examples: P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, S, Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Mo, B, Al, Pb, Ni, Cd, Co).

The lab supports a range of standard extraction, digestion dry ash methods to prepare plants, soil, water and wastewater samples for the ICP. Researchers also can work with the lab to have samples prepared using their preferred analytic methods if they are not already supported by the lab. Alternatively, you are welcome to submit samples fully prepared for ICP analysis. Prepared samples will have volume and sample matrix requirements. If you have a matrix unlike our conventional standards, there is an additional charge for preparing matching standards.

Submitting samples already prepared for analysis can result in substantial savings. There are also volume discounts available. The lab charges a $25 setup fee for all batches of samples submitted for ICP analysis; the lab reserves the right to raise the setup fee to $50 if fewer than 10 samples are submitted. Normally the turnaround time would be five to 10 working days. Rush samples can be proceeded with an additional fee. The lab maintains a quality assurance procedure. You are encouraged to have your own quality checks including check samples, replicates, spiked samples and/or blanks in your sample set for quality control.

We are available to answer any questions you may have on:

  • Method detection limits
  • The best approach for preparing samples
  • Matrix requirements for client-prepared samples
  • Costs associated with standard or custom procedures
  • Quality control procedures

For pricing or questions, contact the lab.