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 Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>