Water Analysis

Soil Analysis

Leaf Tissue Analysis

Plant Pathology

DNA Testing

Water Analysis

The quality of our water is critical to humans and plants alike. Water for human consumption and for agricultural use have different allowable concentrations of minerals and contaminants, which must be adhered to.

Bioscience’s lab is equipped with modern apparatus, allowing us to test samples quickly and accurately. From our findings, we provide a detailed report and, if required, propose a plan to resolve any outstanding issues.

Australian Standard Testing

Within our laboratory at Forrestdale we test water samples in accordance with the Australian Standards (AS 4020) using sophisticated analytical equipment, such as an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), spectrophotometry (UV/VIS) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).

Bioscience Standard Potability Suite

The average turn-around-time for analysis is five working days.  Many other non-routine and regulatory compliance analytes can be tested, including heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead. In addition to chemical analysis we also perform Microbiological examinations, or Chlorophyll α and Phaeophytin measurements are available where eutrophication is a concern.

A minimum volume of 500 ml is required for chemical analysis.

When collecting water, ensure the sample containers are clean and free from contamination.  Wash containers in a phosphate-free detergent and rinse thoroughly.  Low density polyethylene bottles are preferred however; soft glasses may be used if the samples are stored for only a short period of time.

Samples can be analysed for the Bioscience standard potability suite:

  • Electrical conductivity
  • pH
  • Ammonia
  • Nitrate
  • Phosphate
  • Sulphate
  • Carbonate
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Soil Analysis

Understanding and maintaining the health of soils can provide the agricultural and horticultural industries with a foundation for sustainable practices and increased productivity.

Soils also have a significant impact on proposed land developments, in regards to identifying any limitation of a proposed development.


Bioscience specialises in undertaking an appropriate suite of tests specific to individual client needs. These typically involve a range of physical, chemcial and biological tests.

Our soil testing laboratories in Forrestdale can undertake a range of soil analyses to assist you in identifying the Physical, Chemical and/or Biological characteristics of your soil.  The average turn-around-time for a standard analysis is seven working days.  The analysis results come with concise interpretations and recommendations for soil improvement.

Physical Tests

Soil Preparation for Testing (AS1289.1)
Soil Moisture Content Testing (AS1289.2)
Soil Classification Testing (AS1289.3)
Soil Chemical Testing (AS1289.4)
Soil Compaction and Density Testing (AS1289.5)
Soil Strength and Consolidated Testing (AS1289.6)
Soil Reactivity Testing (AS1289.7)

Chemical Tests

Chemical analysis of agricultural & contaminated soils for (AS4764)
Total Carbon and Sulfur
Extractable Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Coper, Zinc, and Manganese.
Heavy metal contaminants
Acid Sulfate Soils SPOCAS suite (AS4969.12)
Hydric Soils
Electrical conductivity and Acidity (pH)
Assessment and formulation of pre-planting soil treatment and fertiliser programs
Identification of soil type for suitable cropping species

Biological Tests

Phytophthora cinnamomi (Jarrah dieback)
Soil Respiration
Total Microbial Biomass
Microbial Diversity
DNA-based species presence (e.g. pathogens, fecal sources)

Commercial Tests

Composts, soil conditioners and mulches (AS4454)
Potting mixes (AS3743)
Soils for landscaping and garden use (AS 4419)

Leaf Tissue Analysis

Bioscience provides leaf tissue analysis services for the purpose of diagnostic testing, monitoring and yield prediction.  Standard analysis measures the macro elements -Nitrogen, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, and Sulfur and the micro elements – Iron, Copper, Zinc, and Manganese. Other analytical tests are available on request. We also routinely measure Sodium as an indicator of possible salt stress. The analysis results come with concise interpretations which include comparison against optimal levels and recommendations for crop improvement.  The average turn-around-time for a standard analysis is five working days.

Plant Pathology

Quantum Efficiency

Bioscience offers a QEA service to measure photosynthetic efficiency by quantum fluorescence. The test is rapid and non-destructive. If provides information on factors such as water and nutrient stress, herbicide damage and the impact of various chemicals applied to plants. This leading-edge technology helps growers develop and refine crop treatment programs and trouble shoot problems.

DNA Testing

Bioscience continues to develop Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis as a fundamental tool to examine and quantify microbial diversity. 

For each DNA sample we use up to 10 separate PCR reactions, each with primers which are specific to relevant soil microbial groups. By using different fluorescent tags on primers, fragment separation using an ABI 3730 platform can be multiplexed, keeping the assay costs down.

Bioinformatics tools refined in-house then process fragment data by automated binning, normalisation and peak scoring. QA/QC involves running standard soil samples in parallel with each assay. Results are reliable, reproducible and informative.

Flora DNA Research

Bioscience is developing a completely novel way to identify plants quickly and cheaply using DNA technology. The core of the new method is the recognition that like most other multi-cellular organisms, a large part of plant DNA is non-coding “junk”. A great part of this “junk” is called transposable elements. These are relics of former retroviruses which inserted themselves into plant genomes. Bioscience has data upon which it has formulated the hypothesis that some of this “junk” in fact plays an active part in metabolism, thus is important for survival so is faithfully inherited. This has recently been supported by findings that certain transposable elements are transcribed into iRNA when tomatoes become infected with virus. Our research is looking to identify those transposons which are stable and inherited as phylogenetic markers. We can thus make simple PCR primers to selectively amplify these markers to give a DNA fingerprint unique to each species.