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Glyphosate analysis

Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl glycine) is a non-selective, post-emergence herbicide used widely around the world for weed and vegetation control. This is sold in Australia under brand names including:

  • Roundup
  • Weedmaster Duo 
  • Zero

Glyphosate comes in the free acid form and as various salts:

  • isopropylamine
  • trimesium
  • diphenylamine
  • mono-ammonium glyphosate 

The principal degradation product of glyphosate is aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA). 

Glufosinate (DL-phosphinothricin) is a herbicide with a similar structure to glyphosate and belongs to the same chemical class.

Australian regulators have set human health-based limits and environmental guidelines for glyphosate:

Our services

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) has developed a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited sensitive and highly selective method (NR53). This method determines glyphosate, AMPA and glufosinate in water (drinking, recycled, ground and catchment), soil and foliage.

We recommend analysing and reporting on AMPA and glyphosate together for drinking water and environmental samples.

Our reporting limits

Herbicide Limit of reporting for water (mg/L) Limit of reporting for soil (mg/kg) Limit of reporting for foliage (mg/kg)
Glyphosate 0.01 0.05 0.5
AMPA 0.01 0.05 0.5
Glufosinate 0.01 0.01 0.5

Our approach

When analysing samples, we:

  • fortify them with isotopes of glyphosate and AMPA prior to analysis
  • treat with fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl chloride 
  • analyse them by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). 

The separation is rapid on sub-2 micron particle size columns. We detect this using state-of-the-art MS/MS instruments using isotope dilution calibration with isotopically-labelled analogues. 


We use isotopically-labelled internal standards to ensure a high level of precision for a range of sample types. Our method has been validated on:

  • typical Australian surface water
  • drinking water
  • ground water
  • soil
  • foliage

Why choose us

As Australia’s peak measurement body and technical leader in the Australian analytical market, we:

  • deliver a personalised service
  • use dedicated state-of-the-art instruments to reduce the risk of contamination
  • support the trade and industry, environment and public health sectors
  • offer competitive pricing
  • deliver full analytical reports tailored to meet your requirements 

Turnaround times

Our standard turnaround time is 5-30 days.

We also offer 1, 2 and 3 working day turnaround times where agreed.

Submitting samples 

Find out how to submit your environmental testing samples. 

Request a quote or discuss your requirements 

Contact us for a quote or to discuss how we can tailor our services to meet your analysis requirements. 

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Last updated: 8 December 2020

Content ID: 64578