NMR Spectroscopy Services

Technical service highlights

We offer advanced Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) expertise and support for industrial, government or academic research. NMR has diverse multidisciplinary applications ranging from quantitative NMR, raw material screening, lipid profiling natural product structure elucidation, metabolomics, and semi-solid capabilities. Applications include quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) of crude/raw ingredients and final products in semi-solid or solution state for pharmaceutical formulations, natural health products, cosmetics, bio-based specialty material/materials, food products, petroleum products and certified standards. We also provide complementary services related to mass spectrometry, biophysical characterization, agricultural biotechnology and algal development.

What we offer

Highlights of this facility are two advanced high-resolution NMR systems, 700 MHz and 500 MHz Bruker Avance III spectrometers. Our 700 MHz system is equipped with high-throughput capabilities for analysis of temperature-sensitive samples and 1.7 mm or 5 mm helium-cooled probes. Semi-solid (HR-MAS) and broadband capabilities are available on the 500 MHz multipurpose NMR instrument.

Structure Elucidation

Standard 1D, 2D and 3D experiments are available for the elucidation of protein, peptide and natural product structures. In addition, new techniques can be developed of for custom applications. Availability of the cryogenically cooled probes increases the sensitivity of the 700 MHz instrument and the 1.7 mm probe allows for the analysis of mass limited samples. Variable temperature experiments are available from 4 °C to 60 °C.

Quantitative NMR

NMR spectroscopy is capable of accurately and precisely determining the concentration of small molecules within a purified sample or complex mixture. Protocols have been developed that use a single certified external or internal standard to calibrate to quantitate marine biotoxins and natural product extracts.

Lipid Profiling

The NMR facility has the capability to analyze lipid extracts such as fatty acids and their derivatives, using multinuclear NMR techniques. Proton (1H) 1D NMR can be used to profile saturated versus unsaturated fatty acid in mixtures. Carbon (13C) 1D NMR can be used to profile the regiospecific distribution of fatty acid chains in triacyl glycerols (TAG's). Phosphorous (31P) based NMR techniques (both 1D and 2D) can be used to characterize the headgroups of mixtures of glycerophospholipids.


High-resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) technique is advantageous for studying semi-solids such as intact tissues, cells, raw materials or product formulations in their native environments by NMR spectroscopy. Valuable information can be obtained without time consuming and disrupting/degrading extractions or chemical modifications. Samples are spun at 3 to 5 kHz at the "magic angle" (54.7°) to the applied magnetic field reducing line broadening effects. Many of the nD experiments that are utilized for structural elucidation can be applied. Applications include:

  • Lipid profiling of whole cells e.g. algae, yeast
  • Extraction efficiencies from biomass
  • Metabolite profiling of tissue e.g liver

NMR spectroscopy is suitable for metabolite analysis since it allows simultaneous detection of a diverse group of both primary metabolites (sugars, organic acids, amino acids etc.) and secondary ones (flavonoids, alkaloids tri-terpenes etc.). Availability of high throughput temperature controlled sample changer and automated data acquisition allows for acquisition of approximately 480 samples per weekend. Statistical analysis though principal component analysis (PCA) allows patterns associated with the variability in the levels of individual metabolites within several samples to be assessed. A Gilson Liquid Handler is available for high-throughput sample preparation. Applications include:

  • serum and urine
  • Cell and plant extracts


700 MHz instrument
  • Bruker Avance-III 700 MHz spectrometer
  • Cooled (4 °C) sample changer that accommodates up to 5 × 96 tubes and 30 individual 5 mm tubes.
  • Equipped with two helium-cooled probes (1.7 mm & 5.0 mm)
  • 5 mm TCI CryoProbe with auto-tune and match and Z gradient, 1H signal to noise ratio 8000:1 13C signal to noise ratio 1200:1
  • 1.7mm TCI CryoProbe with auto-tune and match and Z gradient, 1H signal to noise ratio 1300:1. 13C signal to noise ratio 150:1
  • 5mm BBO probe with auto-tune and match and Z-gradient.
  • TopSpin 2.1 for NMR data acquisition and processing
500 MHz instrument
  • Bruker Avance III 500 MHz spectrometer
  • Medium through-put sample changer for acquisition of 60 samples
  • 4 mm HR-MAS probe with Z gradient for semi solid samples
  • 5 mm TXI probe with auto-tune and match and Z-gradient
  • 5 mm BBFO probe (19F observe) with auto-tune and match and Z-gradient
  • 1 mm inverse microprobe with auto-tune and match and Z gradient
  • TopSpin 2.1 for NMR data acquisition and processing

Why work with us

Our NMR Spectroscopy Services accelerate the understanding of complex mixtures, systems biochemistry, drug interactions, and materials research, thereby contributing to the health and well-being of Canadians and strengthening the natural resource development sectors. Technical services staff will assist you in experiment selection, design and analysis for your research and development needs. We can support development of intellectual property to enable you to validate and commercialize your value-added products. The extremely high sensitivity and increased resolution of the instruments allow for greater precision and accuracy in research conclusions.


We offer specialized services at competitive rates, which include the support of scientific and technical experts and full range of analytical capabilities. We also offer the opportunity for collaboration and/or for our partners to co-locate with us. Contact us to take advantage of our Canada-wide networking, research and development, as well as business development opportunities.

Contact us

Do you require screening or analysis of natural health products, biologically active samples, peptides/proteins or formulations to add value to existing products or support new development efforts? If so, contact us:

Business Related Inquiries

Laurel O’Connor
Telephone: 306-975-4573
Email: Laurel.oconnor@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Technical Related Inquiries

Ian Burton
Telephone: 902-426-9030
Email: Ian.Burton@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca