Analytical Chemistry Environmental Fate Aquatic Ecotoxicology Terrestrial Ecotoxicology Animal Metabolism Crop Metabolism

Since our company was founded in 2008, we have expanded our service portfolio to span across six main fields of services. Find out more about the expertise that we can offer in our individual service areas and learn more about our modern facilities below.


Analytical Chemistry

The analytical chemistry department at IES plays a supportive role to all of our service areas. Analytical techniques such as TLC, HPLC, GC-MS and LC-MS/MS are standard. Large-scale field testing, including OPEX and five-batch studies, are also performed by our team.

Method Development, Validation and Dose Verification

We develop analytical methods and offer a full validation service for parent active substances and metabolites for crop, environmental and animal matrices. Dose verifications of studies are also performed.

Metabolite Identification

The identification of metabolites is a critical part of dietary, environmental fate and plant metabolism studies performed to support human and environmental risk assessments. Our mass spectrometrists have more than 25 years of combined expertise in identifying metabolites in biological and environmental samples.

Residue Analysis

In cooperation with our chosen field partners, we offers residue studies across the globe. Our principal investigator will manage the studies during the field phase, before the analytical phase is conducted from our labs in Switzerland.

Five-batch Analysis

We use state-of-the-art equipment to conduct five-batch analysis studies to the highest possible standard. Together with our clients, we analyse commercial-scale production batches (five or more) of the active ingredient and identify possible impurities.

Screening Studies

We offer screening studies, including structure elucidation work, to analyse for active ingredients, related and significant impurities as well as for additional parameters. These studies can be carried out to meet the requirements of all international authorities, as given in regulations and guidelines of SANCO, OCSPP, SENASA, IBAMA, APVMA, FAO and IUPAC.

Our equipment includes various forms of HPLC with different detectors, HPLC/MS/MS (including a SCIEX QTRAP® 6500 and accurate mass ThermoFisher Q-Exactive), GC, GC/MS in EI, CI and NCI mode, preparative HPLC and further non-chromatographic equipment required for the tests.

Environmental Fate

Environmental fate testing services are at the core of our safety testing catalogue. Our scientific experts and technical experts are able to offer you extensive support to help you on your path to product registration. All studies are conducted on-site in our modern laboratories.

Transformation in Soil

Aerobic and anaerobic soil biodegradation studies are conducted to elucidate the degradation rate of substances which are directly applied to soil, or which are likely to reach the soil environment. We also offer metabolite identification services for the purpose of investigating the formation and decline of possible metabolites.

Soil Adsorption

Determination of soil adsorption constants are carried out to predict the leaching behaviour of substances to groundwater. The assessment of the influence of time on the adsorption behaviour is used to simulate real environmental conditions. The HPLC method is used to estimate the adsorption behaviour of a compound. Adsorption on sludge can be offered.

Transformation in Aquatic Systems (with or without artificial sunlight)

Metabolism studies in water/sediment systems under aerobic and anaerobic incubation conditions are carried out to elucidate the environmental behaviour and metabolism of substances in aquatic systems. Water/sediment studies under artificial sunlight include direct and indirect photolytic processes. For slowly degrading substances, irradiated water/sediment systems can be extended by a controllable Algae population, which might provide an additional mode of degradation.

Aerobic Mineralisation in Surface Water (with or without sediment/diffused light)

Degradation/metabolism studies in surface water with and without sediment are needed to gather information about the behaviour, metabolism and mineralisation of substances in large bodies of water.

Photolysis in Water and Soil

Photolysis studies in buffer (direct), in natural water (indirect) and in soil are needed to assess the potential contribution of light to the degradation process of substances in surface water or on soil surfaces.


Hydrolysis studies are carried out to assess the hydrolytic stability of substances and to elucidate abiotic degradation products.

Processing (high temperature) Hydrolysis

Many plants and plant products are processed prior to consumption. High temperature hydrolysis studies simulate normal processing practices in order to determine the formation and nature of potential transformation products in these processed commodities in order to allow a better estimation of consumers’ exposure to respective residues.

Further Testing

We also offer further tests, including metabolism studies in sewage sludge under anaerobic conditions and soil leaching studies.

Aquatic Ecotoxicology

The IES aquatic ecotoxicology team has extensive experience and technical knowledge required for the successful conduct of studies. Our aquatic ecotoxicology testing portfolio consists of short-term algae, fish and daphnia tests, as well as higher-tier tests, including fish full life cycle tests. Our team works with state-of-the-art equipment in order to conduct studies to the highest possible standard.

Standard Testing

Our team performs both acute and chronic studies with fish, fish eggs, daphnia, algae and lemna. We also perform bacterial toxicity tests and biodegradation tests. Our studies meet the international criteria required for registration purposes, as we offer tests according to OECD, EPA/OCSPP and JMAFF guidelines.

Higher-Tier Testing

When a bespoke test design is required to refine the risk assessment for substances, we offer our clients the possibility to develop the study design together with IES scientists. The aquatic ecotoxicology team has experience with higher-tier algae, fish, daphnia and lemna tests.

Endocrine Disruptor Studies

For substances that are suspected to have endocrine-disrupting potential, a set of tests has to be conducted to investigate their effects on the environment. For this purpose IES offers the fish short-term reproduction test, the amphibian metamorphosis assay and the water snail reproduction test. We also conduct the fish full life cycle test when required. We collaborate with external partners for the histopathological stages of tests.

Analytical Support

Our team of analytical chemists support the aquatic ecotoxicology team. Our analytics group routinely uses a wide range of investigative methods and has plenty of experience in working with difficult substances.

Terrestrial Ecotoxicology

The terrestrial ecotoxicology testing group at IES offers a complete spectrum of product safety testing with bees, non-target arthropods, soil organisms and non-target plants. The safety assessment of plant protection products is a paramount part of every registration.

Laboratory Bee Studies

We run studies on pollinating insects in our laboratories to assess acute or chronic effects of test items. These assessments include investigations of acute oral and contact toxicity as well as chronic toxicity to adult bees and in vitro acute and chronic toxicity to bee larvae.

Semi-field Tunnel and Field Bee Studies

We manage on-site semi-field studies (e.g. tunnel study, brood feeding study following Oomen et al. (1992)) and field studies with pollinating insects including honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees. Our expertise lies within the combination of our outdoor studies with the analytical measurement of residues in different matrices like pollen, honey and nectar.

Non-target Arthropod Studies

Tier I to Tier III studies on non-target arthropods with plant- and soil-dwelling organisms are also performed at IES. The aim of these tests is to assess potential side effects of plant protection products on mortality and reproduction of these test species.

Soil Organism Studies

Our team also conducts laboratory and field studies with soil organisms including earthworms, predatory mites and Collembola to assess potential acute and chronic effects of chemicals. We also offer individual, higher-tiered study designs for soil organism tests.

Non-target Plant Studies

Non-target plant studies are carried out in our greenhouse or under semi-field/field conditions to investigate acute or chronic effects of chemicals on seedling emergence and the growth and reproduction of plants.

Dung Organism Studies

We offer testing of the two dung fly species Musca autumnalis and Scathophaga stercoraria as well as the dung beetle species Aphodius constans, including corresponding analytical verification. We are also able to conduct testing for further species or for tailor-made higher tier approaches.

Animal Metabolism

Our animal metabolism team is highly experienced in conducting metabolism studies, including the identification of unknown metabolites. With our modern facilities and equipment, we can conduct studies according to your requirements for testing pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, plant protection products and other biocides.

In Vitro Comparative Metabolism

The metabolism and elimination of a xenobiotic has a direct incidence on its potential to cause toxicity in an organism. The development of agrochemical, cosmetic or pharmaceutical products requires thus the knowledge of the metabolic characteristics of these substances. The in vitro approach is often used at an early stage of the development process and is absolutely necessary when experiments with human volunteers are not possible. For this purpose, IES offers a battery of in vitro metabolism assays such as metabolic stability determination, metabolic profiling and metabolite identification.   These assays can be conducted in human and animal species used in pivotal safety studies (e.g. rat, mouse, rabbit, dog, goat and hen) and using a variety of test systems, including cell cultures (e.g. hepatocytes) and subcellular fractions (e.g. liver microsomes and liver S9 fractions).

In Vitro Skin Penetration

We perform in vitro skin penetration studies to assess the transport of a test item from the outer surface of the skin both into the skin and into the systemic circulation. These studies are required for the assessment of systemic risks from dermal exposure to chemicals in humans and for the development and optimisation of cost-effective formulations. Formulation bioavailability and permeation profiles of the test compound through human skin are determined and a full mass balance of the applied dose can be obtained.

Crop Metabolism

Crop metabolism studies at IES are conducted by a dedicated well-established team of scientists. Our team offers plant metabolism testing services with a wide range of crops across all crop categories. The crops are cultivated in our facilities, which include outdoor areas with full weather exposure, protected outdoor areas covered by a UV-transparent glass roof, and research greenhouses with individual compartments and controlled temperature and humidity. The 14C-labelled test substance is applied to the test crop either as a spray, seed, or soil treatment, depending on the GAP, by our experienced laboratory technicians.

We offer an excellent array of sample preparation and analytical techniques for identification and characterisation of the nature of pesticide residue, including HPLC with automated fraction collection, stopped-flow and TopCount capabilities, as well as long-standing expertise in various thin-layer chromatography techniques (e.g. HPTLC, 2D-TLC, PLC). LC-MS structural elucidation of unknown metabolites is conducted in-house by a team of experts with state-of-the-art equipment.

Metabolism in Crops

The goal of a Metabolism in Crops study is the identification and characterisation of radioactive residues in each raw agricultural commodity (RAC) of the treated primary crop and the elucidation of the metabolic pathway of a test substance. Our team has relevant experience with a wide range of crops, including wheat, rice, maize, oilseed rape, soybean, sugar beet, tomato, grapes, hops, and many other common and less usual plants.

Metabolism in Rotational Crops

When a crop is re-planted after the harvest or failure of a pesticide treated primary crop, pesticide residues may be taken up by the succeeding crop via the soil uptake. Metabolism in (Confined) Rotational Crops studies are designed to identify and characterise radioactive residues in various raw agricultural commodities (RAC) in such rotational food or feed crops. Typically, the study is performed with a representative of each of the following crop groupings: small grain (e.g. wheat or barley), root and tuber vegetable (e.g. turnip or radish), and leafy vegetable (e.g. lettuce or spinach); and includes three successive intervals for crop planting after soil application.

Post-harvest Metabolism

Studies on post-harvest metabolism in crops are designed to elucidate the degradation pathway of an active ingredient upon post-harvest treatment. The metabolic pathway is determined under specific controlled storage conditions.

Radiovalidation/Extraction Efficiency

During the conduct of the Metabolism in Crops study, radiolabelled samples may need to be retained to determine extraction efficiency for methods developed to extract the residues defined for purpose of MRL or dietary risk assessment. This work can be performed within the metabolism study, or as a separate study at a later time-point.

Determination of Plant Uptake Factor (PUF) and Transpiration Stream Concentration Factor (TSCF)

This study is designed to quantify the uptake of chemicals via the root system of plants. Study results are used to derive input parameters on plant uptake for European standard regulatory environmental fate models PEARL, PELMO and MACRO; the model parameters on uptake into plants via the roots describe if a compound can be taken up with the stream of soil water transpired by plants and thus is removed from the soil.

In this study, plants are exposed to a root-zone 14C-labelled chemical concentration in a hydroponic environment. The chemical concentration in the solution and the transpired volume of the solution are measured over time, allowing for quantification of the removal of the compound from the solution in relation to the transpired water volume. This method produces analogous results to environmental fate models used to simulate depletion of the root zone chemical concentration. Determination of chemical mass in root and shoot tissue at the end of the experiment allows for establishing a full mass balance and the direct quantification of uptake by the plant.

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