CAF
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Central Analytical Facilities Services

​​​​​​​Your results are our business 

​​




Advice and Assistance

Analyses and tests

​Training

Book an instrument
Not sure how to approach your research or which method or instrument to use? Talk to one of our experienced staff members for advice and directions. We can also assist you while you work on an instrument.
​If you are a business person with a product that has to be tested, hand in your product and we will do the tests and give you detailed results. Students, we can analyse your samples for you.

​We have ten different divisions with many specialised instruments to choose from. Read more about the different laboratories and their equipment.​
Do your own analyses on the instrument which you need. Book a time slot and have the instrument for yourself in that time without waiting for others to finish.
Request a meeting with a scientist
Hand in your samples or product
Apply for one of our training workshops
Book a time slot on an instrument


"Great communication: from transport arrangements, confirmation upon receiving my samples, updates on QC, update when data has been uploaded and available and an excellent turn-around round. Thank you all for a great service."  

How much do our services cost?

Please visit the unit of your choice and select the 'Prices' button on the righthand side to see the costs for different services.

Research for better health

Jonathan Quanson investigated the role of adrenal steroid hormones in the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) during his PhD studies. He used the ultra-performance convergence chromatography (UPC2) system at the Mass Spectrometry laboratory for his research. Jonathan has developed and published a high-throughput method to separate and quantify nineteen structurally related androgen precursors and androgens which have been implicated in CRPC. The sensitivity and selectivity achieved by this method make it ideally suited for multiple in vitro and in vivo applications, such as investigations into CRPC and other hormone-dependent cancers. The quantification range is ideal for the use in cell culture, xenograft, tissue, serum and plasma analysis (Quanson et al, 2016).

​“Ultimately the cherry on the cake is that the separation on this system is so effective we are able to separate some compounds with only a chiral difference from one another," Jonathan said.

 

Listen to a podcast by one of our staff members, Dr Alicia Botes

View a training video for free

Request an exploratory meeting with one of our scientists

Find out which laboratory you will need

 

"I've been sequencing samples at this facility for 10 years, and I was always happy to do so. It is a real pleasure as this service is friendly and very reliable."

​Solutions for real-life problems

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Electron Microscopy unit helped with critical analytical support to Stellenbosch Nanofibre Company (SNC) in the process of manufacturing reusable filters for face masks. In order to confirm whether these filter layers are capable of entrapping nanoscale particulates and to assess how robust these nanofibers are, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis is required to measure the distance between fibres as well as the fibre size. This makes SEM analysis integral to the production of nanofiber-based filter layers. The ThermoFischer Apreo VolumeScope scanning electron microscope is the newest addition to the CAF Electron Microscopy Unit and has been instrumental in assisting SNC to perform this much-required analysis.






Staff scientist Jurgen Kriel performs the analysis on the filter layers for SNC.
An image of a SEM analysis of the filter.
One of the filter layers (which is part of medical-grade face masks) before the SEM analysis.

 

Finding detailed results

Thato Motlhalamme as PhD student in 2017 studying the leaf darkening on proteas and she uses the LC-MS method at the CAF mass spectrometry laboratory. LC-MS is an important tool in metabolomics studies. Keabetswe optimized phenolic methods on the Synapt system with ion mobility and data-independent acquisition to study the metabolites of the plants.  Leaf blackening is a post-harvesting disorder that causes financial losses during exports.  Ion mobility is a complementary tool to mass spectrometry that separates molecules (ions) based on their collisional cross-section. She successfully analysed her samples and published an article in the American Chemical Society ACS Publication.​


​Your results are our business - make use of our services

 

"I was impressed by everything. They respond quickly to emails and they sent the samples to the DNA sequencer on time."

​ 

Any questions? Contact us and we will gladly assist.