The Centre has a dedicated Analytical Services Laboratory (ASL) providing routine services to internal and external clients which is located at Hawken Engineering Building (50), Level 4 (S401/S402). It is well equipped with a wide range of analytical equipment with each system being unique and specific in nature pertaining to the intended purpose with no compromise on standard and operational capabilities.

Apart from the routine analyses, the ASL continuously adapts and develops new analytical methods around wastewater, surface water and drinking water to support researchers in their relevant research thrust areas.  

Type of Analytes:

  • Nutrients (Ammonia, Phosphate, Nitrate, Nitrite, NOx and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen/Phosphorous)
  • Sulfur Species (Sulfide, Sulfate, Sulfite and Thiosulfate)
  • Anions (Halides and Oxyanions)
  • Greenhouse gases (N2O and CH4)
  • Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Total Inorganic Carbon (TIC) and Total Nitrogen (TN)
  • COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand)
  • Metals and Metalloids 
  • Organics (Glucose, Di-/Hydroxy Carboxylic acids, Esters, Sulfur Compounds, Nitrophenols and Anilines)
  • Volatile Fatty Acids (Homologues from Formic Acid)
  • Lower alcohols (Homologues from Methanol)
  • PHAs (Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and polyhydroxyvalerate (PHV))

Type of Equipment:

  • Flow Injection Analyser (FIA) – LACHAT QuickChem 8500 Series 2
  • Discrete Analyser (DA) – Thermoscientific Gallery Plus 862 
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES) – Thermoscientific iCAP PRO XP
  • Total Organic Carbon/Total Nitrogen Analyser (TOC/TN) (2 Units) – Shimadzu TOC-L CSH
  • Ion Chromatograph (IC) system with Conductivity Detector (CD) and UV Detector (UVD) (2 Units) – Dionex ICS2000 & ICS2100
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) system with Refractive Index Detector (RID), Diode Array Detector (DAD) and Fluorescence Detector (FLD) – Shimadzu Prominence
  • Multiple Gas Chromatograph (GC) systems with Electron Capture Detector (ECD), Flame Ionization Detector (FID), Pulsed Flame Photometric Detector (PFPD) and Mass Selective Detector (MSD) including CTC autosampler (6 Units) – Combination of Agilent 7890A/B Systems

For more information including sample preparation/storage, sample size/volume, sample submission, availability of methods, etc. please contact the ASL lab at:

Methane potential and activity testing developed at ACWEB can provide certainty for anaerobic digestion projects. Anaerobic digestion technologies are an attractive option for the treatment of organic solids, resulting in a net energy generation and production of safe, easy-to-handle residues for beneficial reuse in agriculture. However, the feasibility of such a project is highly dependent on the speed and extent of degradation, which can vary for different materials.

ACWEB is a key leader and developer of anaerobic biodegradability, activity and inhibition tests, offering independent testing to enable certainty in feasibility analysis. Ongoing testing of existing projects offers benchmarks to assess process efficiency and product quality. In 2010, BMP testing was used to help Sydney Water Corporation evaluate options for upgrading a large existing wastewater treatment plant. A variation of this test allows independent testing of anaerobic seed biomass, and digester biomass health.

Clients for this testing include:

  • Foster’s Brewery
  • Allconnex Water
  • Melbourne Water
  • Sydney Water Corporation
  • Trisco Foods
  • Visy Pulp and Paper
  • WSN Environmental Solutions Australia

For more information, please contact Professor Damien Batstone, or Associate Professor Paul Jensen.

The Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (EML) offers a range of services. The EML is a fully equipped modern laboratory for molecular biology and the culturing of microorganisms.

These include facilities for manipulation and fingerprinting of DNA and various forms of enrichment and microbial culture techniques. Our location, at The University of Queensland, St Lucia campus, Brisbane, ensures we have ready access to a range of excellent complementary facilities that include confocal laser scanning microscopy, electron microscopy and flow cytometry. We have strong expertise and experience for molecular characterisation of environmental and industry samples particularly for determining microbial community composition.

Services include:

  • Microbial community profiling: Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) and Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (TRFLP) are high throughput methods that are very powerful for the comparison of microbial diversity in a number of samples, for example to examine spatial and temporal population variations.
  • Community DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis: At the core of identifying microorganisms from environmental samples is sequencing of ribosomal genes. EML uses the latest techniques for cloning and “next-generation” DNA sequencing. Phylogenetic sequence analysis is used to determine the relationship of unknown microorganisms to known representatives.
  • Microbial community structure using fluorescent probes: Fluorescently-labeled oligonucleotide probes based upon RNA sequences have achieved wide acceptance in the field of microbial ecology. This technique is widely used to visualise and identify microorganisms directly in the environmental sample, and is known as fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH).

For more information, please contact Dr Rajarathnam Dharmarajan