Chemistry Centre

Chemist preparing samples for carbon analysis.

The department’s Chemistry Centre, located in the Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane, Queensland, provides National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA)-accredited analytical chemistry services to inform research and decision-making in natural resource, water quality, environmental and agricultural management in Queensland, Australia and overseas.

We partner with, and provide services for, state and national government agencies, research institutes, and private and natural resource management organisations.

The Chemistry Centre laboratory has a long and proud history, spanning more than 100 years, starting with the first Agricultural Chemist in 1897.

Our expertise

We provide chemical and physical analysis of water, soil, sediment and plant samples to support research and decisions for agricultural, environmental and resource management outcomes. The Chemistry Centre supports government and collaborative research, survey, extension and monitoring programs aimed at environmental protection—particularly the Great Barrier Reef—and sustainable agricultural production with an emphasis on soil security.

Our core areas of expertise are:

  • chemical and physical analysis of environmental samples
  • consultation services on analytical methods, sampling techniques, and the interpretation of results
  • research services, including developing new or modifying existing analytical methods to address specific research or project needs.

Our capability

We perform more than 120,000 tests per year using over 150 analytical methods for water, soil, plant and other samples. Our services include:

Great Barrier Reef sea life.Open larger image

Great Barrier Reef sea life.

Photo credit: Queensland Government

Water quality

Analytical services and advice on matters related to environmental monitoring, marine and freshwater research, runoff waters, agriculture (irrigation and stock drinking water), degradation of land and water resources and the impacts of agricultural and mining practices, chemical contaminants and waste disposal on sea water, land and water resources.

Weeds along Toompine Road.Open larger image

Weeds along Toompine Road.

Photo credit: Queensland Government

Soil and sediment

Developing fit-for-purpose analytical chemical and physical methods to support a wide range of activities including acid sulfate soils investigation, assessment of soil health, the health of waterways and catchments, and environmental monitoring projects.

Crop irrigation.Open larger image

Crop irrigation.

Photo credit: Queensland Government


Analytical services and advice on matters related to the diagnosis of nutritional deficiencies, fertiliser application requirements and the quality of the crop.

Queensland dust storm.Open larger image

Queensland dust storm.

Photo credit: Queensland Government

Airborne geophysical

Analytical services and advice on matters relating to methods for the detection, quantification and chemical characteristics of airborne dust particles collected in the field.

Chemist preparing samples for analysis.Open larger image

Chemist preparing samples for analysis.

Photo credit: MD Photography

Organics and isotopes

Pesticide and herbicide residue analysis and niche analytical processes where methods are not easily available and scientific data sets are required to answer arising issues, e.g. analysis of sunscreen and insect repellent residues in popular waterways, bio pigment deposits in sediment layers and metabolic organic acids in soils.

Capabilities for testing nutrients in soil samples.Open larger image

Capabilities for testing nutrients in soil samples.

Photo credit: MD Photography


Our team of highly skilled and experienced analytical chemists host and maintain a wide range of instrumentation including but not limited to:

  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometers (ICP-MS/MS)
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometers (ICP-MS)
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometers (ICP-OES)
  • Laser ablation ICPMS/MS
  • Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS)
  • X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF)
  • GCMS and GC-IRMS
  • Segmented Flow Analysers
  • Auto Titrators
  • Automated pH and Electrical Conductivity Analyser
  • Total Organic Carbon Analysers
  • UV/Vis Spectrophotometers
  • Mid Infrared Spectrometer (MIR)
  • Laser Particle Size and Shape Analyser.
Technical officers preparing analytical reagent.Open larger image

Technical officers preparing analytical reagent.

Photo credit: MD Photography

Our approach

The way we work is just as important as our technical capability. We work closely with our customers to understand their needs and ensure our outputs are high quality and scientifically sound. Our broad customer base allows us to recognise emerging issues and proactively prepare for future analytical needs.

We are committed to:

  • continuous improvement of chemical analysis
  • the principles of quality in the management and delivery of professional chemical analyses, data interpretation, advice and research
  • high standards of accuracy, responsiveness and overall client satisfaction
  • training of staff to ensure the correct implementation of the quality policies and procedures
  • the principles of good laboratory practice and continued accreditation to standard AS ISO/IEC 17025:2017 for chemical testing.

We have held accreditation for quality assurance with the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) for more than 25 years as well as certification of analytical competence for soil and plant testing from the Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council (ASPAC).

Samples on the autosampler being analysed.Open larger image

Samples on the autosampler being analysed.

Photo credit: MD Photography

More information

General enquiries and collaboration opportunities
phone: 07 3170 5442 or

Sample receipt enquiries
phone: 07 3170 5696 or
email: .

Sample Submission Request

Directions for use:

1. Download the Sample Submission Request template (XLSM, 429.9KB) *
2. Ensure to enable macros before editing
3. Save as a .xlsm file (macros enabled)
4. Email

*Please ensure you always download the latest version.

For assistance in filling in the template please call the Chemistry Centre Sample Receipt team on 07 3170 5696.