Multi interface stable isotope laboratory (MISI-lab)

Université de Moncton, Moncton, New Brunswick
What the facility does

Research facility allowing the determination of the stable isotope composition of carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N), sulfur (δ34S) and hydrogen (δ2H or δD) in different types of bulk samples and specific molecules

Areas of expertise

Unique in the Maritime provinces, our multi interface stable isotope laboratory or MISI-lab provides information about the geographic, chemical, and biological origins of bulk samples (bulk analysis) and specific molecules (compound specific isotope analysis, CSIA). What makes this facility distinctive is the coupling of an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) with rare interfaces, or peripherals, such as a gas chromatograph (GC-IRMS) and a carbon analyzer in aqueous solution (DOC/TOC-IRMS). An elemental analyzer (EA-IRMS) is the third interface. These couplings make the platform very versatile by allowing the analysis of bulk solids, liquids or aqueous solutions and of specific molecules in solid, liquid and gaseous mixtures.

The determination of stable isotope ratios can distinguish the origin of samples or molecules because different formation mechanisms, reactions, precursors or conditions generally lead to isotope enrichment. The measurement of stable isotope ratios makes it possible, among other things, to differentiate samples or molecules that otherwise have an identical composition (e.g. honey glucose vs. sugar cane glucose).

This research infrastructure is useful for a variety of fields and is available for collaborations and service contracts with academic, government and private sectors.

Research services
  • EA-IRMS analysis of δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S in solids and some liquids
  • GC-IRMS (or GC-C-IRMS) analysis of δ13C, δ15N et δ2H (δD) in GC amenable molecules soluble in an organic solvent or present in a gas mixture (e.g. CH4, CO2)
  • DOC/TOC-IRMS analysis of δ13C in freshwater or seawater organic matter
  • Analysis of natural and enriched (labelled substance) isotopic compositions
  • Quantification of %C, %N, %S, %H, and %O (EA) in solids
  • Quantification of total and dissolved organic carbon (TOC/DOC) in freshwater or seawater
  • Weighing on microbalance
  • Data processing
  • Method development
  • Research collaborations
  • Service contracts
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment



Elementar isoprime precisION isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS)

Separate and quantify ions with different isotopic composition

Elementar vario ISOTOPE select elemental analyzer (EA)

Peripheral for EA-IRMS analysis of δ13C, δ15N, δ34S et δ2H in solids and liquids. Used stand alone for %C, %N, %S, %H, and %O.

Agilent 7890B gas chromatograph (GC) with autosampler

Peripheral for GC-IRMS (or GC-C-IRMS) analysis of δ13C, δ15N et δ2H of specific compounds (CSIA)

Elementar GC5 combustion interface (GC-C-IRMS)

Combustion interface between the GC and the IRMS

Elementar iso TOC, DOC/TOC analyzer

Peripheral for DCO/TOC-IRMS analysis of δ13C of the organic matter in water

6-port valve

Injector for gas samples analyzed by GC-IRMS

Elementar IONOS software

Control the IRMS spectrometer and all the peripherals and perform data calibration

MX-5 Metler microbalance (0.000 mg)

Weighing of samples and standards

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • Université Laval
  • Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)