Pickering Laboratories

Hemp in the News, Cannabinoids in the Hemp

By Maria Ofitserova

The United States 2018 Farm Bill changed the legal status of both domestic hemp cultivation and manufacturing of products that include parts or derivatives of hemp plants, including cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp. Moving forward, after obtaining the approval from the USDA, the individual States will assume primary regulatory authority over the hemp industry. The States need to present their plans for regulating hemp industry and otherwise be subject to USDA regulations. Unfortunately, there are several issues causing delays with release of standardized rules, the main problem being the absence of Federal delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) testing standards. Testing for the presence of THC is necessary to distinguish hemp from marijuana.

According to the Farm Bill, hemp should have no more than 0.3 % of THC present. In Cannabis sativa plants, THC is present in the neutral form as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, as well as in carboxylated form as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). Heat causes decarboxylation of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, converting it to tetrahydrocannabinol. The Farm Bill doesn’t specify what forms of THC should not exceed 0.3 % but it does mention that testing procedure should utilize “post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods.” The phrase “other similarly reliable methods” creates confusion as to the principle of the methods that could be used.

Using Gas Chromatography would be considered a “post-carboxylation method,” but this technique doesn’t allow the analyst to obtain the actual cannabinoids profile for hemp and/or marijuana, since elevated temperature causes chemical changes to the compounds in the sample… And having information about different forms of cannabinoids present in the plant is important to growers and product manufacturers alike, since this may affect the price of the crop.

The HPLC technique is much more useful for testing cannabinoids in hemp since it is able to differentiate between the forms of cannabinoids. The HPLC method allows the analyst to determine neutral and carboxylated forms of cannabinoids separately and gives flexibility in the ways of reporting composition.  Comments from the USDA do suggest that total THC concentration, meaning THC naturally present in neutral form as well as formed from delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, should be taken into account when classifying Cannabis sativa as hemp. Note to analysts: when doing calculations for total THC, one should keep in mind that due to differences in molecular weight a coefficient of 0.877 should be used to convert THCA percent to THC percent. 

Pickering Laboratories, Inc. has developed a simple HPLC method with post-column derivatization for the analysis of cannabinoids, including THC, THCA, CBD and CBDA. The method can be used for analysis of both hemp and marijuana. Post-column derivatization decreases matrix interferences and increases sensitivity of detection since the reagent is specific for cannabinoids. This technique eliminates the need for sample clean-up, so a simple extraction is sufficient to successfully analyze not only plant materials but also finished products containing hemp, for example edibles and supplements.

Chromatography Quiz #33

Chromatography Quiz #32: I’m not seeing any peaks! Carbamates edition – RESULTS

Pickering Labs would like to congratulate all of our winners for our previous newsletter’s I’m not seeing any peaks! Carbamates edition Quiz: Jim Balk from Nebraska Public Health Environmental Lab, Josiah Hakala from Minnesota Department of Health, Narjes Ghafoori from LA County Environmental Toxicology Lab, Tom Schneider from Suffolk County Water Authority, and Jiufeng Fan from Glaxo Smith Kline.

Winners will soon receive: A Tile Pro Combo from Amazon.com! Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker and easy-to-use app that helps you find everyday items in seconds. Sleek, durable and water-resistance, the Tile Pro seamlessly pairs with your smartphone. The easiest way to find your things!

Congratulations to our quiz winners!

Thank you all for your submissions! 


The correct answers for the “I’m not seeing any peaks!” Carbamates edition quiz:

The reactor temperature was set too low. In normal operation, the reactor temperature should be set to 100 °C for proper post-column reaction completion. The incomplete reaction will give you low response for all analytes except Carbaryl and 1-Naphthol. Carbaryl becomes 1-Naphthol after the first step in the post-column reaction and 1-Naphthol is naturally fluorescent and does not require the OPA reaction.

Chromatography Quiz 33 – What the Brij?!?

Correctly answer the question below and win a prize!  Simply email your answer and your full contact information to Rebecca at rlsmith@pickeringlabs.com by November 1, 2019 in order to win.  You will receive email confirmation when your submission is received, and the troubleshooting answer and winner congratulations will be published in the next issue (to be anonymous, please notify Rebecca in submission). 

Below you will find the method details for the Fumonisins method. What is the purpose of adding 30% Brij to the post-column derivatizing reagent?

(Full method abstract(s) available on our website.)




WEAR Conference 2019

By Saji George

Appropriate product testing should be set in place by any manufacturer of consumer goods to ensure quality, reliability and high-quality products. It is important to test the functionality of the product but it is also wise to test the product in the type of system in which it will be functioning. To determine the endurance without waiting out the life of the product, stress testing should be an integral part of product testing protocols. Pickering Laboratories’ artificial body fluids play an important role in these stress tests.

The WEAR Conference brings together leading smart fabric and wearable device experts. Attendees at this conference will include business development managers, chief innovation officers, creative directors, material scientists and developers of wearable consumer products and their components. Pickering Laboratories Inc. is proud to be sponsoring WEAR 2019 in Seattle, Washington; Saji George and Rebecca Smith will both be in attendance. We are looking forward to meeting with our existing customers and making lots of new connections with industry leaders in this exciting field!

Looking Ahead to NACRW 2019!

By Sareeta Nerkar

The North American Chemical Residue Workshop (NACRW) conducts an annual meeting catered to scientists who are particularly interested in trace level analysis of pesticides, veterinary drug residues and other chemicals in food, animal feed and environmental samples. Formerly named the Florida Pesticide Residue Workshop (FPRW), this year marks the 56th Annual Conference!

Two of our research chemists will be traveling to Naples, Florida from July 21-24, and they hope to get a chance to meet customers face-to-face and compare notes on the latest research and upcoming industry needs! Sareeta Nerkar will be joined by Maria Ofitserova in representing Pickering Laboratories at the meeting. In addition to sponsoring a luncheon, Sareeta and Maria will be hosting a vendor seminar on Wednesday, July 24 that will include the latest post-column applications, including Mycotoxins Analysis in Hemp and additional exciting news.

Sareeta is also looking forward to her oral presentation Tuesday, July 23 on Improved Extraction and Cleanup Prior to HPLC Determination of Glyphosate in Food Samples. She will be discussing a simple and robust method for the analysis of Glyphosate at sub-ppm levels in different kinds of food. The accelerated sample preparation improves sample throughput and reduces the cost of analysis for busy testing laboratories using the post-column Glyphosate method!

The Pickering Laboratories poster for the conference this year is on the Analysis of Mycotoxins in Cannabis Plants and Cannabis-containing Products, so please look for Sareeta during the poster session!


Come One, Come All to NEMC 2019!

By Rebecca Smith and David Mazawa

This year the annual National Environmental Monitoring Conference (NEMC) heads south to Jacksonville, Florida, where chemists and environmental regulators from around the country will gather from August 5-9, 2019.  The August weather and the technical program will both be heating up as David and Rebecca check out the latest research in environmental monitoring and methodology. 

Please stop by our booth to chat with us about the latest post-column developments and newest product testing solutions.  Or, even better, come find us at the New Technology Showcase on Tuesday, August 6th from 3:00 – 5:00 pm!  David will be joining other instrument manufacturers to discuss the latest innovations in analytical instrumentation. 

Finally, we’re excited to be included in this year’s selection of drinking water poster presentations!  David and Rebecca will gladly discuss our poster with you when we see you at the show.  For reference, it is titled: HIGHLY SENSITIVE ANALYSIS OF CHROMIUM (VI) IN DRINKING WATER BY ION CHROMATOGRAPHY (IC) WITH POST-COLUMN DERIVATIZATION AND UV/VIS DETECTION.

Pittcon 2019: Recap from Philadelphia

By Mike Gottschalk and Maria Ofitserova

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was the site of Pittcon 2019 and Pickering Laboratories was one of over 1,000 exhibitors at the convention center.  As Philadelphia is centered between the New York and Washington D.C., the location brought us close to many of our customers and soon-to-be customers particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Maria, Rebecca and I spent three days exhibiting and providing information on the latest post-column derivatization applications, not to mention showing off all the new products in our Pickering Test Solutions product line.  Our promotional giveaways were a big hit and we greatly underestimated how popular the Pickering yoga mats and exercise balls would be!  Hopefully you stopped by our booth early if you enjoy a good workout while you travel.

We are always pleased by the amount of interested people who stop by to discuss our Product Testing Solutions. We often hear “I didn’t know you made artificial perspiration?”  They will ask us to explain the many types of consumer products that need to be tested with perspiration as well as saliva, urine and other simulated body fluids. You might have noticed that for the last three years, we’ve tried a “sweaty” theme for our show giveaways!  It’s been a great way to promote discussions about product testing and how important it is for almost every industry to evaluate materials with artificial bodily fluids.

One of the new focuses for our post-column research and development has been the growing market for Cannabis related products and the testing of Cannabis.  This field (pun intended?) has shown increasing and sustained interest in cannabinoids and contaminants testing.  There’s good interest in the post-column applications we’ve developed for these matrices, and it reflects the industry demand for verified testing applications.  Highlighted at the show were our applications for the Analysis of Mycotoxins in Cannabis and the Analysis of Cannabinoids in Cannabis and Cannabis-containing Edible Products.

While at Pittcon, we hosted a daily raffle at our booth.  Each expo day, we chose a winner for a pair of Bose “Sleepbuds” – noise cancelling earbuds specifically designed to help the wearer get awesome sleep!  Congratulations to our winners William Collin from General Motors, Brent Hanlin from ALS, and Keith Saroka from the Interboro School District.  This picture really captures how pleased these lucky winners were!

Thank you to everyone who came by the booth to visit with us in Philly this year – we had so much fun chatting with you all!  And of course, if you ever want more information between shows, we’re always adding fun new things to our website and introducing new products in our quarterly newsletter.  Please email support@pickeringlabs.com to discuss any new applications with Maria or another of our amazing chemists!

Welcoming the New Season… and the New Manager!

By Rebecca Smith, Tony McIsaac and Maureen Takagi

Summer is almost upon us and things have been heating up at Pickering Laboratories!  We are so excited to introduce the newest member of our team and talk a little bit about what has been happening behind the scenes here around the lab.

Tony accepting his award for 20 years of service, wife Susan by his side.

Over the last 20+ years, many of our customers, vendors and industry colleagues have gotten the opportunity to know Tony McIsaac, our Vice President of Production.  Tony has long managed our production team and coordinated all things manufacturing at Pickering.  He’s very personable and friendly, so if you ever meet him at Pittcon or when visiting our facility, he might have made an impression (and who could forget that mustache?!).

These days, now that he’s four grand kids deep, Tony has turned his eyes towards coordinating a whole new chapter in his life!  He’s beginning a gradual transition towards retirement, first moving from manager to individual contributor and then from full-time to part-time (come this fall).

Tony hanging out in the sunshine with Severo, Anita, Gabriela and Jay

When a company like ours is lucky enough to have continuity at such an important position for so many years, successfully transitioning to a new manager requires a lot of planning!  Not to mention cross-training!  So, while Tony won’t be fully retiring until 2020, the process of replacing him is already in full swing around here. 

Maureen Takagi, Production Manager Extraordinaire

Enter Maureen Takagi, our newest hire!  Maureen has joined the Pickering team as our new Production Manager and she’s primed to take over Tony’s managerial responsibilities.  Maureen is very experienced in the instrument manufacturing world and has launched right into her new role with a full head of steam!  What an exciting time for our whole company!

Maureen comes to us after a long tenure with her previous employer where she managed a DPSS laser manufacturing group. Professionally, Maureen has a keen interest in continuous

Maureen, seen here getting nowhere fast.

improvement and recently earned her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

When not at work, Maureen is teaching Spin® classes and participating in the YMCA annual fund-raising campaign to support youth programs for under-funded families.

We’re hoping to convince Maureen to brave the weather and travel with us to Chicago for Pittcon 2020 next March, where many of our customers and vendors would get a chance to meet her. If you just can’t wait, please feel free to reach out via email or stop by the lab if you’re in the area!


Maureen and Tony, celebrating with gusto in the laboratory (but where’s the PPE?!) … Cheers, you two!

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Open for Business: COVID-19 Update

With the increasingly lengthy disruptions to daily life caused by COVID-19, Pickering Laboratories, Inc. wants to continue reassuring our customers that we remain open for business this summer.  We continue to maximize support for our customers and provide essential businesses with the reagents and supplies necessary to operate, including hospitals, clinical laboratories, food safety and environmental testing facilities.

Our inventory levels and response times remain normal.  Responsiveness is subject to change and new orders still may need to be prioritized accordingly to supply essential businesses. 

Thank you for your patience and for your business as we continue to work together through this difficult time.  Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Customer Service: orders@pickeringlabs.com
Technical Support: support@pickeringlabs.com
Phone: 650-694-6700