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Service overview

Our chemical analysis facility provides a comprehensive range of standard and specialist composition tests for inorganic analysis. Our expert staff handle samples from plants, trees, soil and water following strict quality assurance protocols.

Quality assurance

Our chemical analysis facility is among the top performers in Europe for plant, water and soil analysis. We have ranked No.1 in the most recent EU-wide Interlaboratory comparisons:

  • 3rd in 2018 out of 30 European laboratories for soil analysis (European Soil Survey –ICP Forests)
  • 1st out of 59 European laboratories for plant analysis (ICP Forests)
  • 3rd in 2019 out of 40 European laboratories for water analysis (ICP Forests)

The laboratory operates under the Joint Code of Practice for Research as our benchmark on quality assurance. We are also a member of a number of proficiency schemes to ensure our work remains of a high standard. These include:

  • Yearly water proficiency test under the European Monitoring on Environmental Pollution project (EMEP) (No ranking available)
  • Water (every other year) and plant (yearly) proficiency tests under the EU programme (ICP Forests)
  • Every 3 years soil proficiency tests under the European Soil Survey programme (ICP Forests).

We also use:

  • Certified Reference Materials (plant, soil or water) are run in every batch of analysis with matrix matching to maintain the quality of our data which is paramount in research and long term monitoring.
  • Reference standards used throughout every batch of analysis to assess any significant drift or change in sensitivity.
  • Experienced staff some educated to BSc, MSc and PhD level.


We have supported forestry-related research projects for more than 50 years. Through this active participation in research we have acquired significant expertise in testing a wide range of materials and developing protocols.

Our clients include research organisations and university research groups from across Europe as well as environmental consultants, forestry contractors and private woodland owners.

Read more detail about out plantfoliagesoil and water analysis capabilities.

Our tests use state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and instrumentation including our dual view optical emission spectrophotometer which offers low limits of detection and greater accuracy at trace levels.

Laboratory capabilities

The Chemical Analysis Laboratory provides a wide range of inorganic analyses for plant, soil and water samples; including composts, effluents, sludges and even animal tissues (e.g. invertebrates).

We have a modern, well equipped laboratory with analytical instruments such as:

  • HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography)
  • ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrophotometry) with dual view (Axial & Radial)
  • UV-VIS CFA (UV-Visible Continuous Flow Analysis)
  • 2 Elemental Analysers (Carbon and Nitrogen in water and soil/plant)
  • GC (Gas Chromatography) for gas analysis
  • Automated pH and Alkalinity meter.

We also have specialised equipment for sample homogenisation and preparation such as:

  • Jaw crusher, grinder and ball mill
  • High accuracy 6 digit weighing balance
  • Sample heating blocks
  • Microwave digestion system
  • Centrifuge.

Our new dual view (axial and radial) ICP-OES (optical Emission Spectrophotometer) allow much lower limits of detection than conventional ICP-OES and gives us great accuracy at trace levels.

Elemental analyser recently purchased for the European Soil Survey (BioSoil) project for measuring nitrogen and carbon (both organic and inorganic forms) in soils. This instrument can also be used for analysing other solid media such as plant samples.

High Performance Liquid Chromatography for analysing anions in water or other aqueous extracts (plant and soil).

The Chemical Analysis Laboratory is based at Alice Holt Lodge in Farnham, Surrey.

Costs and charges

If your required analysis is not listed below, please  contact us  as we have not listed all the tests available.

We can also offer a discount depending on the number of samples sent for analysis.

Water analysis (prices exclusive of VAT)

TestAnalysisPricePrice ≥5 samples
1Filtration to 0.45 µm£3.20£3.20
2Suspended Solids (mg/l)£4.50£4.50
3Turbidity (NTU)£3.00£3.00
5Conductivity (µS/cm)£3.40£3.40
6Colour-Hazen value£3.00£3.00
7Alkalinity (mg/l)£4.50£4.50
8Anions (FClNO2NO3PO4 and SO4) (mg/l)£26.00£22.50
9Ammonia/Ammonium (NH3/NH4) (mg/l)£10.00£10.00
10Total Nitrogen (N) (mg/l)£8.00£8.00
11Total Carbon or Total Inorganic Carbon (TCTIC) (mg/l)£10.00£10.00
12Total Inorganic Carbon (TIC) (mg/l)£8.00£8.00
13Cations (AlBaCaCdCoCrCuFeKMgMnNaNiPPbSSiSrZn)£30.00£22.50
14Cations (AlBaCaCdCoCrCuFeKMgMnNaNiPPbSSiSrZn) and screening for Arsenic, Selenium, Tin and Antimony (As, Se, Sn, Sb)£38.00£30.00
15Other required water/aqueous sample analysisContact usContact us

Plant analysis (prices exclusive of VAT)

TestAnalysisPricePrice ≥5 samples
1Sample preparation (Drying at 70 oC and grinding for homogenisation)£3.00£3.00
2Plant, Needle or Leaf weight (Fresh or dry material) (g)£2.00£2.00
3Leaf area (cm2)Contact usContact us
4Moisture content (%)£3.00£3.00
5Total nitrogen and carbon (NC) (%)£6.00£6.00
6Major cations (AlCaCuFeKMgMnPZn) (% – mg/kg)£18.00£18.00
7Combined tests 1, 5 and 6 (% – mg/kg)£25.00£25.00
8Fertiliser prescription for foliage nutrient deficiency (based on the analysis results of one ‘good’ and one ‘poor’ sample taken from a block of woodland.)Not availableNot available
9Trace metals (BBaCdCoCrNaNiPb) and major cations (AlCaCuFeKMgMnPZn) (% – mg/kg)£35.00£26.00
10Water extractable chloride (Cl) (% – mg/kg)£15.00£15.00
11Other required plant analysisContact usContact us

Soil Analysis (prices exclusive of VAT)

TestAnalysisPricePrice ≥5 samples
1Moisture content (fresh soils) 105 °C (%)£3.00£3.00
2Bulk density (kg/m3)£4.10£4.10
3Normal preparation: air drying, sieving (crushing if necessary) to 2 mm£4.50£4.50
4pH (in H2O or 0.01 M CaCl2)£4.50£4.50
5Soil conductivity (µs/cm)£3.75£3.75
6Water soluble Anions (FClNO2NO3PO4 and SO4) (mg/kg)£29.00£23.00
7Water soluble Ammonium (NH4) (mg/kg)£15.00£11.00
8Exchangeable Cations (BaCl2 extraction; AlCaFeKMgMnNa) (cmol(+)/kg)£24.00£18.00
9Exchangeable Acidity (BaCl2 extraction) (cmol(+)/kg)£12.00£7.00
10Combined tests 8 and 9 (cmol(+)/kg)£30.00£21.00
11Aqua Regia extractable elements (AlAsBBaCaCdCoCrCuFeKMgMn,
Na, NiPPbSSrZnZr) (mg/kg)
12Acid Oxalate Extractable ions (AlFe) (% – mg/kg)£26.00£22.00
13Soil ball milling for nitrogen and carbon analyses£3.80£3.80
14Total Nitrogen and Total Carbon (TNTC) (%)£5.90£5.90
15Total Inorganic Carbon (TIC) (%)£6.50£6.50
16Total Nitrogen, Carbon, Organic Carbon and Inorganic Carbon (TNTCTOCTIC) (%)£12.40£12.40
17Particle Size Distribution (% of clay, silt, sand) (%)£35.00£35.00
18aAmmonium Nitrate extractable ions (KMg) (mg/kg)£12.50£8.00
18bAmmonium Nitrate extractable ions (Ca, K, Mg, Mn, Na, S) (mg/kg)£20.00£15.00
19Phosphorus available (P Olsen method or Melich III) (mg/kg) with ADAS index£16.50£12.50
20LOI (Loss On Ignition) Organic matter/Organic carbon (%)£9.50£5.50
21Sodium Pyrophosphate extractable (Al, Fe, Mn)£25.00£20.00
22Sodium Pyrophosphate extractable (DOC mg/kg)£15.00£11.00
23Other soil extractionsContact usContact us

We also offer a broad range of specialist tests. Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements so we can provide you with a fully itemised costing.