Sample Matrices Table

HHEAR provides laboratory analyses of wide variety of sample matrices. The type of biospecimen or environmental sample, the volume available, and how the samples were collected and stored will affect the feasibility of requested analyses. The sample matrices most commonly analyzed by HHEAR are urine, plasma, serum, whole blood, house dust and silicone wristbands. For other matrices (particularly those noted with *), consultation with a HHEAR Lab Hub is important to determine appropriateness in your proposed HHEAR project. Preferred sample volume/mass requirements listed in this table include sufficient sample amounts to conduct laboratory quality control procedures (i.e., random repeat sample analysis, confirmation testing). If your study does not meet the preferred volume/mass listed here, or you have questions about your collection method (ex. air sampler type, blood tube) the HHEAR Lab Hub can work with you to determine if the study is feasible and development alternate strategies to ensure data integrity.

  Exposure/Preferred Biospecimen Experimental/
research biospecimen
Environmental/Personal Samples
Urine Plasma/Serum Whole blood Air Samplers Water House Dust Soil/Sediment Silicone Wristbands
Targeted Analyses
Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR)   at least 1 mL X* Breast Milk* Placenta*
Adipose tissue*
X+   100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#
DNA Adducts     1-10 mL* Buccal Cells*
Biopsy Samples (Fresh Frozen Tissue)*
Formalin Fixed Tissue*
Environmental Phenols 0.1-1.0 mL     Amniotic fluid* Breast Milk*
Follicular Fluid*
    100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#
Nutrients 0.5 mL* 1 mL* X*   Not applicable
Organophosphate Ester (OPE) Flame Retardants & Plasticizers X     Breast Milk,*
X+ 1 liter 100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#
Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)   0.1-1.0 mL X* Amniotic Fluid*
Breast Milk*
Dried Blood Spots*
Seminal Plasma*
X+ 50 mL wastewater, 200mL surface water, 1000 mL drinking water 100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#
Pesticides (Current Use) (polar/water soluble analytes) 0.1-1.0 mL         50 mL wastewater, 200mL surface water, 1000 mL drinking water 100 mg
Some: chlorpyrifos, permethrin, strobilurins
1 gram 1/5 of band#
Pesticides (Legacy) (non-polar/lipid-based analytes)   1 mL X* Adipose and Brain Tissue*
Dried Blood Spots*
X+   100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#
Pharmaceuticals and Drugs of Abuse 1 mL   0.5 mL   Not applicable
Phthalates 0.1-1.0 mL     Amniotic Fluid* X+   100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) 0.1-3.0 mL X*     X+   100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#
Psychosocial Stress Biomarkers   1 mL   Hair (10 mg) is the preferred matrix for chronic stress. Saliva (1 mL) is another common matrix.  
Tobacco Products 3 mL 3 mL*   Nails*
    100 mg
(Nicotine only)
  1/5 of band#
(Nicotine only)
Trace Elements

Prefer at least 2 mL

Arsenic speciation analysis 1 mL preferred

Prefer at least 1 mL Prefer at least 1 mL  Bone*
Cord Blood
Deciduous Teeth*^
Follicular Fluid*
Seminal Plasma*
Umbilical Cord*
X+ 50 mL 50 mg 100 mg (1000 mg if wet) Not applicable
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) 1 mL 0.5 mL*
(serum only)
  DNA from various biospecimens* Not available
Untargeted Analyses 10 to 250 µl 10 to 250 µl 10 to 250 µl Feces
Tissue Extracts
  50 mL wastewater, 200mL surface water, 1000 mL drinking water 100 mg 1 gram 1/5 of band#

*For matrices marked with an asterisk, refer to the exposure pages or request a consultation with a HHEAR Lab Hub for more information about availability and utility of analyses using this sample matrix.

+Indicates mass or volume needed is dependent upon the type of air sampler. Please contact the Duke Environmental Analysis Laboratory for inquiries.

#Indicates that all targeted analyses can be done in the same 1/5 section of wristband (e.g. 1/5 of a wristband is sufficient for analysis of BFRs, phenols, OPEs, PAHs, phthalates, pesticides, nicotine and PFAS).

^ Tooth metal biomarkers can provide temporally resolved information about elemental uptake during prenatal and early postnatal development. The HHEAR program's deciduous tooth assay provides data on multiple essential elements (e.g. zinc, copper) and toxic metals (e.g. lead) at one to two week temporal resolution. The number and type of elements detected in the teeth samples vary by background exposure in the population under study.