Sample preparation equipment

A range of sample preparation equipment is available, including a New Wave Mercantek Micromill, state of the art freeze dry system, a mini-bead-beater and dedicated sample weighing station.

We have the in-house capability at NIWA to carry out the following sample preparation methods:

  • Sample homogenisation using bead-beater
  • Sample micro-milling
  • Bone-collagen extraction: to convert bone samples to collagen for stable isotope analysis and 14C dating (no dating capability available at NIWA)
  • Lipids extraction using accelerated solvent extraction method
  • Sample acidification to remove inorganic carbon from sediment and faunal samples
  • Freeze drying of samples
The New Wave Mercantek Micromill is a high resolution computer-controlled machine for fine scale sampling of hard archived materials, such as corals, teeth, otoliths, tree sections. Samples can be drilled down to 25 micron resolution, enabling fine-scale chronological studies of sub-seasonal effects.
Sea lion tooth.
FreeZone 6 L Benchtop Freeze Dry System with Bulk Tray Dryer heats up to 60⁰C and is used to dry samples before they are prepared for stable isotope analysis.
A Mini-Beadbeater-24 homogenises samples prior to sub-sampling and weighing. Stainless steel vials (2.5 mL x 24) and balls are used to avoid sample contamination.
NIWA has a dedicated sample weighing station on a marble bench in a controlled temperature laboratory. An XP26 Excellence Plus XP Micro Balance weighs samples to five decimal places in grams. Data are stored electronically and transferred directly into the mass spectrometry ISODAT operating software.