NMR services for product development and quality control – molecular identity, structure and quantity

NMR services for product development and quality control – molecular identity, structure and quantity [NI-SERV-2020-11]

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NMR spectroscopy is the most versatile analytical technique at our disposal, allowing the detection, quantification and structure determination of most molecules.


Service Provision / Expertise


We hold the largest biomolecular NMR centre in Portugal (CERMAX – Centro de Ressonância Magnética António Xavier), with a range of spectrometers covering magnetic fields from 300 to 800 MHz, equipped with a large variety of RT and cold probes designed for optimal performance in state of the art modern NMR techniques applied to biologically relevant molecules, from small metabolites to macromolecular super-complexes. The 800 MHz spectrometer is unique in the country and one of the only three available in the Iberian Peninsula. The very high magnetic field availability allows an extraordinary increase in both the resolution and the sensitivity of the technique when compared to lower field spectrometers.

The techniques and expertise available at ITQB-CERMAX include: structural biology, identification and quantification of small molecules, small molecule structure determination, protein structure and dynamics, polysaccharide structure, metabolomics, in vivo and in cell NMR, paramagnetic systems, disordered proteins and peptides, molecular interactions and quality control.

We offer NMR data collection services for research groups and companies needing access to general or specific experiments or field strength over a wide range of NMR techniques and expertise.

We provide research contracts for groups or companies wishing to outsource NMR R&D activities. This mode can include experiment set-up, data collection, spectral analysis and presentation of results.

We offer consulting services for groups or companies without expertise in NMR for their R&D needs, which can be a preparatory step for Data acquisition or Contract research.

We offer training (both hands-on and theoretical background) in this fundamental analytical method.


Most analytical techniques focus on a particular molecule or classes of molecules. NMR has a comprehensive approach with the ability to detect the unexpected and the unknown. For instance, glucose detection kits only quantify glucose, leaving all other molecules (including other carbohydrates) that might be present in the sample, undetected; carbohydrate quantification techniques usually do not inform about the identity of the carbohydrates under study and, when they do, they always leave out the possibility to detect unknown molecules. NMR detects all the organic molecules that are present in the sample (above a certain concentration detection limit). Among other applications, this characteristic allows for the detection/quantification of novel molecules for which no established analytical method is available.

NMR spectroscopy is quantitative and does not require extra steps for sample preparation, such as separation or derivatization.

NMR is non-destructive and non-invasive. Not only does it allow obtaining rich structural information of sample composition in a natural environment in intact molecules, but it also allows to detect/quantify molecules inside fully functional biological structures like cells, tissues or organs. At the end of an NMR experiment, the sample can be reused for other analytical techniques or remeasurement.


NMR techniques have applications in all areas related to industrial and academic R&D, namely, pharmaceutical industry, chemical synthesis, cosmetics, oil industry, food and beverages, biotechnology, consumer goods or medical devices, among others. In all activities that require or benefit from the detection/quantification and/or structural and dynamic characterization of molecules of biological or inorganic origin.

Also, NMR is often applied in quality control protocols since it can detect minute changes in chemical nature and chemical composition, and because it allows the detection of the unexpected.

Specific applications include, drug target screening, molecular structure and dynamic characterization of molecules ranging from small organic or natural products until biological macromolecules such as proteins, metabolomics surveys, counterfeit detection of certified food products, quality control, beverages, and materials.



Programa — ITQB