Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U of T lab a Canadian first for environmental science

05.05.2004


Technology reveals ’molecular map’ of organic matter



A new facility unveiled today at U of T at Scarborough provides an unprecedented view of the molecular secrets found in organic matter-shedding new light on fields such as climate change, environmental contamination and forensic science.

The Environmental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Centre is the first of its kind in Canada dedicated to research in environmental science. Husband-and-wife researchers Myrna Simpson, a U of T assistant professor of environmental chemistry, and Andre Simpson, a UTSC assistant professor of chemistry and the new facility’s director of NMR research, will supervise activities at the $2.47-million facility. Bruker BioSpin Canada donated the facility’s instrumentation-a gift-in-kind worth $1.57 million-while the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Innovation Trust and U of T each provided $300,000.


The lab’s specially designed instrument (the NMR spectrometer) and innovative technology allows researchers to analyse organic matter-such as that found in soil, water, leaves and air-at the molecular level. Once a sample is analysed, the instrument produces a computerized "molecular map" of the compounds present in the substance. Researchers are compiling a database of compounds that have already been analysed to ease subsequent identification of samples.

"Any research is limited by the quality of the research tools," says Myrna Simpson. "By having access to this unbelievable instrumentation, we’re going to be able to make leaps and bounds in our understanding of environmental processes. We’ll be able to solve a lot of fundamental problems." The instrument can also be used to scan a sample on multiple occasions over a period of time, providing a "time-lapse" glimpse of decomposition, she adds.

Professor Kwong-loi Shun, vice-president and principal of UTSC, says the Environmental NMR centre will allow UTSC to make dramatic strides as a leading centre for environmental research in Canada and around the world. "It is wonderful to see excellence in teaching, learning and research thriving here at UTSC," says Shun. The NMR facility is already attracting collaborators, including other Canadian scientists.

Installation of the NMR spectrometer began in October 2003 and was completed in March with the assistance of one of Bruker BioSpin’s engineers who travelled from Germany to help with assembly of the technology.

"Bruker BioSpin is very proud to support the innovative research programs of Professors Andre and Myrna Simpson," says Dr. Henry Stronks, executive vice-president of Bruker BioSpin Canada. "University-based research will play a critical role as Canada continues to move toward a knowledge-based economy and Bruker BioSpin is excited to be a partner with the University of Toronto and Andre and Myrna Simpson as we work together to pioneer new magnetic resonance methodologies for the analysis of soil and organic matter. Congratulations to the University of Toronto and everyone involved for helping to make this world class laboratory a reality."

"Today’s opening of the Environmental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Centre is a powerful example of what can be achieved through partnerships," says Carmen Charette, interim president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. "The investment we are celebrating today will strengthen Canada’s capacity to effectively compete locally, nationally and internationally in this important area of research."

Nicolle Wahl | U of T
Further information:
http://www.newsandevents.utoronto.ca/bin5/040429a.asp

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another

27.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>