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Using the Lab

The UC Davis Analytical Laboratory conducts chemical analyses on plant, feed, soil, water and waste water in support of the activities of University of California academics. The Lab also accepts samples, on a limited basis, from other educational institutions, government agencies, and research-based businesses.

On this page:

Establishing a Client User Account:

Contact the Lab Office to initiate the process of becoming a client: (530) 752-0147.

Each client is assigned an unique user account called a Client ID. (A client can have more than one Client ID should circumstances warrant.) This Client ID is created from information provided by the client on the Lab's Application Form. After the client user account is established, you will receive a Work Request Form pre-printed with your specific information. (Please advise our office when changes to the pre-printed information need to be made; we will provide an updated template prior to sample submission.) This form can be copied and completed to identify requested analyses each time samples are submitted.

Clients have the option of assigning a "copy to" person on the Client ID. This individual will then also receive the analytical results. If changes to the pre-printed billing account and/or "copy to" person information are needed, they can be made on a permanent basis or on a submission-by-submission basis by writing the changes on the work request form and selecting the appropriate check-box ("permanent" or "one-time only").

Requesting Analytical Tests / Submitting Samples:

The Work Request Form includes our most commonly requested tests; special analytical needs can be written onto the form.

Please use the page of the Work Request Form appropriate to the type of sample material you are submitting (e.g., plant, water, soil). Work Request Forms should be prepared based on the analyses being requested; i.e., all samples submitted on a Work Request Form will be analyzed for all the tests indicated. We are currently limited to no more than 100 samples per Work Request Form. The Work Request Form is submitted with the sample.

The Work Request Form must be signed by the owner of the user account or another individual authorized to submit the work.

Certain analytical tests may have specific requirements concerning sample size, preparation, and storage. These requirements are described in the section titled Sampling and Preparation.

Please label each container consecutively beginning with the number 1 for each Work Request Form. A waterproof marker or ink appropriate to sample storage (e.g., freezer marking pen for frozen samples) should be used. Please use the "Notes" field on the Work Request Form if there is an exception, such as a missing number. If sample descriptions are sent to the Lab via e-mail, they can be included in the final report. We can accommodate a one column list of identifiers, not to exceed seven characters (including any spaces), in the same order that the samples are numbered. Our reports are prepared in Excel format, and it is also possible for you to insert your descriptions into the report when you receive your results.

Samples can be delivered by hand or sent to:

Hoagland Annex
University of California
One Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616-5270

Campus Map.  Or click here to access Directions/Parking to our facilities.

Our Receiving Facility staff can answer questions on sample preparation and shipping: (530) 752-0266

Processing the Samples:

Samples are logged in upon receipt and according to the information provided on the accompanying Work Request Form.  The submitter (and any designated "copy to" individual) will then receive a confirmation e-mail (which includes a detailed summary of the anticipated charges) with a copy of the processed Work Request Form as a "pdf" file. This confirmation copy provides the Work Request Number assigned to that set of samples. The Work Request Number can be cited when making inquiries.

In fairness to all submitters, samples are processed in the order received by the Lab. If you feel your testing needs to be conducted on a "rush" basis, contact the Lab to make arrangements. Click here to view the Rush Request Policy.

The Lab will dry and sub-sample as needed. If sample material requires grinding/pulverizing, that service is also provided (at client cost).

Analyzing the Samples:

The samples are tested using standard methods as described in the section titled Methods of Analyses. At least ten percent of the samples are tested in duplicate at no cost as part of our quality assurance program. We also run at least one standard reference material sample with each set of analyses. These QC results are included in the final report. A description of the Lab's quality assurance and quality control measures are described in the section titled QA / QC .

Reporting the Results:

The final report is automatically sent to the client via e-mail. Reports are typically in Excel format.  A copy will also be sent to one additional individual if a "Copy To" person was indicated on the Work Request Form. Please review your results upon receipt of the report. If you have any questions regarding the report, please contact the Lab: (530) 752-0147.


A billing statement with a summary of the charges will be included in the email containing the final report.  University of California clients will be automatically invoiced to the DaFIS account number or the Full Accounting Unit (FAU) on the Work Request Form.  Non-UC clients will receive an invoice in a separate email.  For non-UC clients, payment is by check, and is due upon receipt of invoice.

Sample Disposition:

You can indicate your preference for sample disposition on the Work Request Form (discard, save for pick up, return). Samples are discarded 30 days after the final report is issued, unless you requested the samples be returned to you on the Work Request Form. If you elected to pick up the samples, we request that you retrieve your samples promptly but not later than the 30 day holding period since the Lab has limited storage space.