Unusual Matrices, Interesting Conferences

By Saji George

Herbal Products

Unusual-MatricesConsumer use of herbal supplements for wellness has been increasing in recent years, according to the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA).  Their website is the self-proclaimed voice of the herbal and botanical products industry, and an excellent resource for laboratories interested in providing testing services to this growing market sector.  At the Supply Side West show, they held numerous committee meetings (Analytical Laboratories, Personal Care, Sports Nutrition and Cannabis to name a few) where solutions to various industry issues are discussed http://www.ahpa.org/AboutUs/Committees.aspx.

The show was held this March at the Anaheim Convention Center, and I attended on behalf of Pickering Laboratories.  Both the exhibit show and committee meetings were very informative.  This is a good place to taste-test the concoctions that are displayed at local stores but you always hesitate to buy because the components fail to excite the imagination. Consider it the test drive of the products that are so good for you. While there, I also explored new frontiers in herbs and botanicals, and listened in on the industry’s expanding conversation on pesticides, mycotoxins and adulterant.  If you are interested in more information about analytical testing in herbal matrices, please visit www.pickeringlabs.com/library/method-abstracts-2/#food to learn more.


aatccThe International Conference of the American Association of Textiles Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) was held at Williamsburg, Virginia in April.  This show has three interest groups: chemical applications, concept-to-consumer and materials. The chemical applications group focuses on applying chemicals to textiles to add additional function (such as adding wrinkle free, anti-microbial and anti-mosquito, or flame retardant properties).  Concept-to-consumer focuses on the path from design to retail (such as balancing between design and quality, using conductive thread for sewing, or digital textile printing). Finally, the materials group focuses on latest innovations in fibers (such as solar textiles, smart textiles or novel synthetic turf infill).  To learn more about smart textiles, try this link http://www.rle.mit.edu/fabric/ or you could find those and other videos on YouTube.

So, why did Pickering Laboratories send a chemist to AATCC when we have no direct involvement in the textile industry?  Our product testing solutions are used every day in testing these textile innovations!  A popular artificial perspiration we offer is the AATCC Method 15 formulation, which is used for testing the colorfastness of fabric to perspiration or to a combination of light and perspiration.

For this and other formulations, visit www.pickeringtestsolutions.com and view our complete product testing catalog, or just explore the many different types of consumer products and tests that get performed everyday with artificial perspiration on products you purchase as a consumer!

Larger Formats Abound!

By Rebecca Smith

Seen here posing with our new Artificial Perspiration carboys![/caption]Pickering Laboratories has again increased our Product Testing Solutions offerings to provide even more options and savings to our customers!  As our products continue to gain in popularity, we are increasingly getting requests for larger volume bottles and bulk purchases.

David Mazawa, Technical Support Chemist for Pickering Labs. Seen here posing with our new Artificial Perspiration carboys!
David Mazawa, Technical Support Chemist for Pickering Labs. Seen here posing with our new Artificial Perspiration carboys![/caption]

Larger sized bottles are now available of our new Artificial Sebum, giving customers the choice to purchase as 25 grams or 200 grams per bottle.  The new 200g bottles, part number 1700-0702, will provide significant savings over purchasing large amounts of Artificial Sebum in the smaller bottles (part number 1700-0700).  This product is available off the shelf, as inventory permits.

Our AATCC Test Method 15 Artificial Perspiration is a very popular formulation, particularly as the stabilized version with two years shelf life.  We currently offer this stabilized formulation in our standard 200mL bottles (part number 1700-0015), and as a case of 4 x 950mL bottles with part number 1700-0541 for larger volume users. 

It is with much excitement that we now offer the ability to order stabilized AATCC Test Method 15 Artificial Perspiration in even larger volumes!  By purchasing one of our new 19.8L carboys, our customers can save significantly on their large volume purchases.  Carboys of AATCC Test Method 15 stabilized sweat, part number 1700-0555, are available now as a made-to-order product.

These carboys, which hold almost 20 liters in a single container, are available for any customer wishing to purchase stabilized artificial perspiration in bulk volumes.  Please contact support@pickeringlabs.com for more information on bulk volumes of your artificial perspiration formulation of choice.

New Pickering Test Solutions products:

1700-0702            Artificial Sebum, 200g

1700-0555            AATCC Test Method 15 Artificial Perspiration, stabilized, 19.8L

Also feel free to visit our webpage at www.pickeringtestsolutions.com for more information.  Thanks!



FDA Announces New Glyphosate Testing in Food

Maria Ofitserova Ph D. – Pickering Laboratories

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the most widely used herbicide in the world. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates Glyphosate and sets residue limits for different crops as well as drinking water.  Recent research, however, has raised concerns about Glyphosate safety and its prevalence in the environment.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) rated Glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and several studies, including one conducted by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA), have indicated a massive increase in the number of human urine samples contaminated with Glyphosate over the last 15 years.

The increased use of Glyphosate has been studied as well. According to Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, 50 times more Glyphosate is allowed on corn grain now than was allowed in 1996.  The US-EPA has also increased what it considers to be a safe amount of Glyphosate exposure by a factor of 17.  The EPA's high-end estimate of infant exposure to Glyphosate exceeds the level considered safe for them in 1983, Freese adds.

GlyphosateAs the scrutiny of Glyphosate grows in the United States, a U.S. Government Accountability Office report has criticized the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for not sufficiently monitoring residues of the chemical on foods. This February, the FDA announced testing of Glyphosate in foods including soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs. Meanwhile, consumer groups, academics and testing laboratories have claimed to have detected Glyphosate in breast milk, honey, cereal, wheat flour, soy sauce, and infant formula as well.

The herbicide registration renewal of Glyphosate in the European Union was questioned due to mounting evidence of chronic human exposure and insufficient safety data, especially in children, and a suspected link to cancer.  As of now, the decision on relicensing has been postponed.  Several EU members, such as France, Sweden, Netherlands and Italy, have indicated opposition to renewal of the 15-year license.

With this growing international concern about Glyphosate, additional regulations from the US-FDA and international regulatory agencies are possible in the upcoming months and years.

Pickering Laboratories has over 30 years’ experience manufacturing and selling instruments and reagents for Glyphosate analysis in accordance to the US-EPA Method 547 for Glyphosate Analysis in Drinking Water as well as the AOAC Method 991.08 for Glyphosate Analysis in Environmental Waters. These HPLC methods are based on post-column derivatization technology with florescence detection.  The AOAC Official Method 2002.52 for Analysis of Glyphosate in Crops describes easy clean-up procedures that are successfully combined with Pickering Laboratories’ post-column derivatization for analysis of Glyphosate in crops such as soy, corn, alfalfa, and sunflower seeds as well as vegetables such as tomatoes and broccoli. The analytical method is sensitive and selective, and it can be easily implemented in any laboratory. For further details visit our webpage at: www.pickeringlabs.com   

Please enjoy these excellent additional resources/sources:







Chromatography Quiz #23

Chromatography Quiz #22 Results

Pickering Labs would like to congratulate our winners of our last newsletter’s AAA quiz: Narjes Ghafoori from LA County Environmental Toxicology Lab, Joy Gottlieb from New Mexico Department of Health Scientific Lab Division, Tom Schneider from Suffolk County Water Authority and Helene Lachance from Shur-Gain Nutreco!    

contest-prizeThey have each won and will shortly be receiving: a Picnic Basket Gift Tin from Harry & David!  From their webpage: Celebrate the season with this gourmet gift basket, featuring a wonderful assortment of snacks, including fruit, meat, cheese, and crackers perfect for picnics and lunches in the park. In addition to our remarkably juicy Royal Verano Pears, we're offering a range of picnic delights, like white cheddar cheese, hickory smoked summer sausage, peanut butter pretzels, sweet raspberry galettes, and more. Packaged in an exclusively designed picnic-ready tin, this gift is ready to help you make any occasion a special one

We hope our quiz winners enjoy their prizes and the springtime weather!


Thank you all for your submissions!  


The correct answer to the Carbamates Analysis quiz: 

The answer for last quarter’s quiz was: incorrectly prepared reagent.  We prepared our “hydrolysis reagent” with CB910 instead of CB130.  The hydrolysis reagent CB130 is at a pH of 12.5, which is much more basic than our OPA diluent CB910 at a pH of 9.1.  From our Carbamates Manual: The separated carbamates are first saponified by NaOH at 100°C to release an alcohol, carbonate, and methylamine.  In the second post-column reaction, methylamine reacts with OPA and Thiofluor to form the highly fluorescent derivative.  So, if there is insufficient NaOH present for the first reaction, some of the carbamates do not fully hydrolyze.  

Chromatography Quiz #23: Polyether Antibiotics Analysis

What caused the noise for the blue signal in the troubleshooting chromatogram below?  Simply email your multiple choice answer as well as your full contact information to Rebecca at rlsmith@pickeringlabs.com by July 1st, 2016 in order to win.  You will receive email confirmation that your submission has been received.  The answer to the quiz and winner congratulations will be published in the next issue (to be anonymous, please notify Rebecca in submission). 

Polyether Antibiotics Analysis

Pinnacle PCX post-column instrument (two-pump) is being used in a traditional HPLC setup as recommended by Pickering Laboratories.  The reference chromatogram and troubleshooting chromatogram are both shown.

Narasin Standard: 2.5 µg/mL, 100uL injection

Pickering Column: 2381750, Polyether Column, C18, 4.6x250mm

Normal Operating Conditions: (for reference only, condition changes may be reflected in chromatogram)

Column Temperature: 40 °C
Flow rate: 0.7 mL/min
Isocratic: 90% Methanol, 10% of 5% Acetic Acid solution in water

Post-column conditions:

Reagent 1: Concentrated Sulfuric Acid / Methanol (4:96 v/v)
Reagent 2: 60g of Vanillin in 950mL of Methanol
Reactor 1: Ambient, 0.1mL
Reactor 2: 90 °C, 1.4mL
Reagent flow rates: 0.3 mL/min

Black (Reference) Signal:

DAD detector 520nm with bandwidth of 4nm
No reference wavelength
Sampling rate >0.10min (2.0 S response time) (2.5Hz)

Blue (Troubleshooting) Signal:

DAD detector 520nm with bandwidth of 4nm
Reference wavelength of 360nm
Sampling rate >0.05 min (1.0 S response time) (5HZ)
Can you identify the error made when running the chromatogram?

Multiple Choices:

A) Bad lamp
B) Reference Wavelength
C) Sampling rate
D) All of the above







CES 2016… wait, what?

That’s right, Rebecca and I attended The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This massive show takes over Las Vegas for a whole week. Many of our Product Testing Solutions customers were going to be exhibiting at the show, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to meet our current customers and see if we could interest other companies in our Product Testing Solutions as well. We saw many cool devices being displayed. Drones, virtual reality rigs, augmented reality goggles, fitness tracking gadgets, and smart fabrics were all well-represented.

We decided to focus on the wearable technology section of the show. Any device or material that is worn on the human body would benefit from design testing or quality control testing with our Product Testing Solutions. Wearable technology companies already use our artificial perspiration solutions to see how their electronics or materials will tolerate constant contact with the human body. We have received feedback from customers that testing with our artificial perspiration solution will give different results, when compared to testing with just water. After testing with our artificial perspiration solutions, our customers are confident that their device or material will be able to withstand the harsh environment of the human body.

We met lots of passionate people promoting their awesome products. Many of these people thought we bottled actual perspiration! By the end of the day, Rebecca and I had walked over 7 miles so it was certainly possible for us to collect our own perspiration… However, Pickering Laboratories does not collect actual perspiration. We manufacture artificial perspiration and other body fluids according to industry standard protocols and our own proprietary formula for eccrine perspiration. No humans are harmed in the making of these products.  


Additional information on Pickering Laboratories Product Testing Solutions can be found at www.pickeringtestsolutions.com.

David Mazawa
Technical Support Chemist
Pickering Laboratories, Inc.
1280 Space Park Way
Mountain View, California 94043 USA
Phone: 650-694-6700 ext. 710

New Method Abstract MA 249

ma_249Analysis of Mycotoxins is an important part of food and feed safety.  As regulations tighten laboratories all around the world expand their testing capabilities to include analysis for different types of toxic fungi metabolites. Pickering Laboratories has a diverse line of products designed for Mycotoxins analysis, including Pinnacle PCX post-column derivatization system, UVE photochemical reactor and immumoaffinity columns. We also developed several methods for single families of Mycotoxins as well as multi-residue protocols.

Our new Method Abstract MA249 describes fast and sensitive method for analysis of Fumonisins FB1, FB2 and FB3. Fumonisins are derivitized with OPA reagent and detected using Fluorescence detector. HPLC and post-column conditions of this method are aligned with a method being considered by Chinese National Food Safety Standards as new official method for Fumonisins in food.

Holiday Season Celebrations

How Pickering Labs Celebrates the Holiday Season

Rebecca Smith

The end of the year is always a busy time for Pickering Laboratories.  Not only are we wrapping up all of your orders before the majority of our staff disappear for the holidays, but we also enjoy having a good time around the laboratory.  The two major cornerstones of our December festivities are the formal Holiday Party, held offsite, and the Ugly Sweater and Caffeine Overload party, held right here in the lab!

holiday2016_1Our very own Gloria Garcia does an amazing job coordinating these two events every year, among others.  Second in length-of-employment only to Michael Pickering himself, Gloria has a long history of epic event-planning under her belt.  From Cirque du Soleil and Giants baseball games to waterparks (coworkers and swim suits, isn’t that awkward?!) and picnics, we always are prepared for a good time when we get together. 

The formal Holiday Party is our major offsite social event of the year.  Each employee and their spouse/guest come for a night of tinsel and sequins.  We enjoy hosted food and drink, and we are often treated to an overnight hotel stay or a ‘party bus’ drive up to San Francisco and back.  Always pairing safety with revelry, Gloria ensures that a good time is had by all!  (Not to mention, I always find the best way to properly enjoy a DJ and dancefloor is to celebrate with a champagne toast before the music starts.  At least, that’s one way to cope with the lack of anonymity that comes from working for a company of <20 employees!)

This year, we enjoyed excellent food, drink and ambiance provided by the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose.  (https://www.hayesmansion.com/)  There was a raffle for gift cards and other fun stuff, a conga line weaving throughout the dining area, and an after-party at the hotel bar for those of us staying overnight.  Everyone was looking so fabulous in their finery that we thought we’d share a few event pictures!  


On the last day of December before the mass holiday exodus, Gloria arranges our Ugly Sweater and Caffeine Overload party.  Fast becoming a favorite Pickering tradition, the party includes a fancy espresso bar catering service!  (http://www.coffeeconceptsinc.net/)  Rich the barista comes in for several hours in the morning and makes custom lattes, mochas, espressos, and the occasional decaf Americano.  By the time three hours of all-you-can-coffee conclude, the Pickering employees are ready for a white-elephant gift exchange and to vote on the ugliest sweater winner!  


Fueled by caffeine and thoughts of the imminent time-off, our party rapidly deteriorates into joking around and gift-snatching (as you can imagine).  There are a great many tricks played during the white elephant exchange and Gloria’s fantastic treats ensure that the “sugar high” stays strong all day long even as the caffeine wears off.

Our employees work very hard in December to fill your year-end orders and to minimize the stocking issues that will come up while they are on vacation.  It is our great pleasure to provide them with humorous and festive ways to let off a little steam while they’re at it. 

Everyone at Pickering Laboratories hopes that you had a happy and healthy holiday season, and that you’re off to a great start on your New Year!  Thank you for your business.


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