Natural Products and Analytical Technologies Facilities (NPAT)

National Research Council Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia
What the facility does

Provides cutting-edge capabilities to advance research projects in analytical chemistry and the development of bio-products with commercial applications.

Areas of expertise

The Natural Products and Analytical Technologies (NPAT) facility spans two NRC locations (Halifax and Charlottetown) and is composed of a comprehensive suite of mass spectrometry (MS) equipment and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers. Utilization of this collection of instrumentation is used for the analysis of natural products, pure compounds, and complex matrixes including food, functional ingredients, crops, raw materials, algal and microbial extracts, biological samples (blood, plasma, urine, zebrafish tissue), and environmental samples. Physical properties (flavor, texture, appearance, etc.), biological activities, or health benefits are all important features to take into consideration when commercializing novel natural products; and they are all directly correlated to the diversity of molecules composing each ingredient and our ability to analyze them. The critical mass and versatility of analytical equipment and the ability to deploy dedicated scientific staff to develop on-demand research projects and analytical methods are key features that allow this facility to offer a broad array of collaborative research and client services, focusing on the development of bio-products with commercial applications (agri-food, human health, personal care, and biotech).

Research services
  • Screening and isolation of natural products;
  • Quantitation of bioactive products or chemical markers in biomass, natural extracts, and complex mixtures;
  • Chemometrics/metabolomics for the profiling of complex matrixes and biological samples using targeted and untargeted statistical methods;
  • Structure elucidation, identification and characterization of small molecules, unknowns, or proteins based on the interpretation of 1D and 2D NMR analyses, high-resolution MS and tandem MS/MS data;
  • Physical properties and biological evaluation of functional ingredients and bioactive products.
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Ocean industries
Specialized labEquipmentFunction
Halifax Location

Thermo Scientific Q Exactive OrbitrapTM high-resolution mass spectrometer


High resolution mass spectrometry (MS), mass spectrometer enabling tandem MS in addition to accurate mass measurements.


Halifax Location

Waters Q-ToF Premier mass spectrometer


Quadrupole Time-of-Flight (Q-ToF) spectrometer allowing tandem MS and accurate mass measurement, and analysis of large biomolecules.
Halifax LocationBruker AVANCE III Utrashield Plus 700 MHz NMR spectrometer equipped with two cryogenically cooled probes and a SampleJet autosamplerAnalysis of small molecules/natural products.
Halifax LocationBruker Avance III Ultrashield 500 MHz NMR spectrometer equipped with SampleXpress Sample Changer and room temperature probesNuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer. Can analyze semi-solid samples including biological tissues.
Charlottetown Location

Agilent 7000D Triple Quadrupole GC-MS


Gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) instrument used to study volatile compounds.


Charlottetown Location

Sciex QTRAP 5500 LC-MS/MS System


Liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Triple quadrupole mass spectrometer to quantify and identify low-abundant metabolites in complex matrices.