Central Analysis Service of the UPV/EHU. Bizkaia Unit

Range of services offered

The Analysis Service attempts to cover very diverse fields within applied chemical analysis, ranging from the analysis of water, soils, sediments and foods, etc. to the development of analytical methods applied to clinical or toxicological fields.

In this respect, different types of service are offered that could be grouped into three categories:

  1. Fine-tuning of a familiar analytical methodology
    For those cases in which the customer is aware of a suitable analytical method or is considering using an already-established standard or method.
  2. Development of different analytical methodologies for unknown compounds
    In these cases, since the substance to be determined is unknown, the service will ask the customer for all the information required to start checking different analytical techniques in order to deal with the problem being taken into consideration, in the sense of characterizing the unknown compound or compounds with the help of the most suitable techniques - including, where necessary, a confirmation technique, possibly with the help of combined techniques that may include mass spectrometry.
  3. Research work and/or studies
    In these cases, the Service will take part in the research considered by one or more groups by clearly defining the objectives to be attained in such research and the work plan to be developed.

By way of example, some of the fields and analyses offered by the Service are summarised below:

Bioanalytical Area

  • Analysis of drugs in pharmaceutical formulations
    Analytical methods will be fine-tuned or developed for determining drugs in their formulations which do not require very high sensitivity. However, these may require great selectivity, as the active component may contain impurities that could give rise to major side effects. The pharmaceutical company increasingly needs not only the active component to be analysed, but also these impurities.
  • Analysis of drugs in biological fluids (plasma, urine, faeces, etc.)
    Highly sensitive analytical methods will be put into practice to monitor levels of concentration in the biological fluid of pharmaceutical compounds. This type of determination requires the fine-tuning of a method for treating the biological method which will include liquid-liquid or solid-liquid extraction methods. This type of analysis is, generally speaking, carried out using chromatographic and electrophoretic methods.
  • Pharmacokinetic studies
    Determining levels of plasma concentration in compounds of pharmaceutical interest tends to involve trying to establish the relevant pharmacokinetic profiles. Liquid chromatography with different types of detection is the most commonly-used technique. 
  • Drug metabolism
    The current trend in the field of Metabolomics  is to have a bearing on the monitoring not only of the active component, but also on determining its metabolites. In this respect, the recent purchase of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry equipment will enable this type of analysis to be carried out that has been requested both by pharmaceutical industries and research groups in bioanalytics.
  • Lipid Analysis
    The main objective of lipid analysis is to determine the lipid profile in order to address the involvement of these in many metabolic diseases such as obesity, atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension or heart attack. Progress in this field has been made possible thanks to technological developments in analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography or laser ablation coupled to mass spectrometry, among others.

Food Area

In the food area, the control not only of raw materials is of vital importance, but also of end products. The type of analysis offered covers the following:

  • Determining metal ions in foods
  • Analysis of toxic substances in foods

Spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques will be applied when carrying put these analyses, following prior treatment of the sample.

Geological Area

Different analyses are offered within this area, among which are included the following:

  • Tracing analysis in underground water
    Given the type of tracer used in hydrogeology (fluorescein, rhodamine, iodide, lithium, etc.,), techniques are used such as fluorometry, capillary electrophoresis and atomic absorption spectrometry.
  • Analysis of rocks, minerals and metal ores.

The metal ions in this type of matrix are determined, mainly via emission spectroscopy with inductively-coupled plasma (ICP-AES), given that a multi-elemental analysis is generally required and in very varied levels of concentration.

Area of the Environment

  • Analysis of urban and industrial atmospheres
  • Persistence of insecticides
  • Analysis of organic compounds in contaminated soils
  • Analysis of organic compounds in sentry organisms

Forensic Area

  • Analysis of ink in documents
  • Isotopic analysis in different matrices (biological and environmental)

Artistic Heritage

  • Determining pigments in works of art
    In the field of artistic heritage conservation, in which the sample is of crucial importance, non-destructive techniques are required or those that require a very small size of sample. Capillary electrophoresis offers the advantages of being a technique that requires a volume of picoliters and possesses separation power which is greater than that of liquid chromatography. Thus, this technique will be applied to this type of analysis.
  • Determining liquid and protein agglutinants
    In a painting, the pigments are accompanied by agglulitants that need to be analysed. Chromatographic methods (HPLC and gaseous chromatography) are the ones used in this type of determination.

Industrial Protection

Industry requires monitoring of its processes and also the characterization of its end products. The commercialisation of these products requires a series of standards with regard to specifications, which make it necessary to analyse such products. The Service attempts to provide the following two types of analysis:

  • Characterization of new materials
  • Monitoring of industrial processes which will require the use of different analytical methodologies, according to the type of industry.