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.

The Lab typically does not provide non-research related testing. Private individuals and commercial operations should contact the lab prior to submitting samples to verify that the Lab can perform the testing they require.

Establishing a Client User Account:

Each user creates a profile when signing onto the website for the first time. This profile is unique for each person submitting samples, and contains contact information for that person, contact information for the Primary Investigator(PI) and default billing information. After submitting samples, a Client account is created in the name of the PI from the information provided. The Client account should be referred to by all submitters on a project to ensure consistent communication, testing, reporting and billing.

Requesting Analytical Tests / Submitting Samples:

Tests are requested by creating one Work Order for every set of samples (100 samples per Work Order maximum). All samples in the Work Order must have the same tests requested. Special requests and tests not listed on the order page can be requested in the comment field.

A print out of the Work Order receipt is submitted with the samples as the Work Request Form.

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 Order. A waterproof marker or ink appropriate to sample storage (e.g., freezer marking pen for frozen samples) should be used. Please use the “Comment" field on the Work Order 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

We can accept samples sent to us by all carriers: eg, UPS, FedEx, US Postal Service (USPS). However, for timely delivery, UPS and FedEx are best.   USPS is not recommended for frozen samples or samples requiring refrigeration.

Campus Map.

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 in the Work Order.  The submitter(s) specified on the Work Order will then receive a confirmation e-mail with a summary of the anticipated charges and the Work Request number assigned to that set of samples. The Work Request number is the reference number used 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:

A link to the final report is e-mailed to the client when testing is complete. Reports for orders completed after April 11, 2023, are in a zip file containing the official pdf and an Excel file for your convenience. A copy will also be sent to the individual specified in the Work Order. Please review the results upon receipt of the report. For questions regarding the report, please contact the Lab (530-752-0147).


A link to billing statement with a summary of the charges is included in the email containing the final report.  UC Davis clients are automatically invoiced to the account number specified in the Work Order.  Other clients will receive payment instructions based on the type of payment they selected when creating the Work Order.

Sample Disposition:

Once testing is complete, samples are either discarded, saved for pickup or returned based on the selection made when creating the Work Order. Samples are discarded 30 days after the final report is issued. If you would like to pick up the samples, please retrieve the samples promptly but not later than the 30 day holding period.