Category Archives: AOAC

AOAC 2018

Held in August, the 2018 AOAC International Meeting in Toronto, Canada was an excellent opportunity for Pickering Laboratories to be closer to our customers in Canada and the northern United States. The annual AOAC meeting brings experts in food safety, food integrity and public health together to develop and validate analytical methods. This year, Canadian Governmental Laboratories were in significant attendance as well.

Mike Gottschalk and Maria Ofitserova met with existing customers and other attendees interested in our instrumentation and consumables. We exhibited the latest in post-column applications at our booth and sponsored a Vendor Session on our most recently developed method.  We also answered questions our growing Pickering Test Solutions product line. The artificial body fluids we manufacture for research and consumer product testing generated a surprising amount of interest from attending laboratories needing standardized solutions for testing various products.

At our Vendor Session, Maria Ofitserova presented our newly developed and validated method: “Amino Acids Analysis in Dietary Ingredients and Supplements by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and Post-Column Derivatization.” This method follows the requirements specified by the AOAC Stakeholder Panel on Dietary Supplements and the presentation generated many interesting discussions with representatives of contract laboratories running amino acids analysis.

Maria Ofitserova also continued her work as part of the AOAC Stakeholder Panels and Expert Review Panels. Stakeholders meetings focused on the needs of consumers and industry leaders in the areas of food analysis, supplements analysis and baby formula analysis.

The Pickering Laboratories PINNACLE PCX post-column derivatization instrument is well known for analysis of Amino Acids, Mycotoxins, Glyphosate and many other analytes. Our chemists’ hard work fits very comfortably within the mission of AOAC to research, develop and validate analytical methods.

Visit for our latest post-column applications and product releases.

2016 AOAC International

aoac-2016The 130th Meeting of AOAC International was held in Dallas, Texas from September 18-21, 2016. Pickering Laboratories is a long time corporate sponsor and very active participant in the expert panels and laboratory collaboration groups that characterize the spirit of the AOAC members.  Maria Ofitserova attended to present our validated post-column derivatization method for Theanine Analysis in Tea, Dietary Ingredients and Supplements, and her Monday morning session drew a large audience of interested attendees. This Theanine method was approved as AOAC First Action Official Method 2016.10 in August 2016 and has just been published together with the Single-Laboratory Validation results in the November-December issue of Journal of AOAC International.

Pickering continued to be closely involved in AOAC Standards development work by participating in several Stakeholders Panels. As a member of the SPIFAN Expert Review Panel (ERP), Maria attended the meeting and focused on reviewing candidate methods for nutrients and trace elements in infant formula and adult nutritionals. The ERP discussed methods for B vitamins, Carotenoids, fructants and galacto-oligosaccharides. She also attended the meeting of Stakeholder Panel for Dietary Supplements (SPDS), where three new working groups were launched! These working groups are tasked with developing Standard Method Performance Requirement for the analysis of free amino acids, vitamins K1 and K2 as well as active compounds in ginger.  

Among the new application notes we introduced at the show was the updated Application Note MA211 Glyphosate Analysis in Foods, which generated interest for a number of attendees.  Please read our Glyphosate testing update in this newsletter to find out more!

AOAC International Conference

aoac-2016The AOAC International Conference caters to chemists and analytical professionals from around the world. This year the meeting is in Dallas, Texas from September 16-24, 2016. Pickering Laboratories will be showing our latest applications and products at our AOAC exhibition booth #308. We are also a corporate sponsor and a contributor to several committee meetings throughout the year. Our commitment to AOAC is reflected in the nay products and methods we offer that follow AOAC methods and guidelines.

This year, Maria Ofitserova will be presenting her work on the analysis of Theanine in tea, dietary ingredients and supplements by HPLC with post-column derivatization. This method was developed in response to a call for methods issued by the Stakeholder Panel on Dietary Supplements (SPDS). The post-column Theanine method has undergone Single Laboratory Validation (SLV) and has met the standard method performance requirements set up by the SPDS. In August 2016, Pickering’s Theanine method was evaluated by an Expert Review Panel (ERP) and approved as an AOAC First Action Official Method! The method and the results of single laboratory validation are in print and will be published in the Journal of AOAC International later this fall. If you are attending the show, don’t miss our related talk on Monday morning September 19th at 8:00am!

Following the trend of more testing for glyphosate, we are presenting a poster on Glyphosate Analysis in Foods. The Pickering post-column method was used to expand our application for Glyphosate Analysis in Soy Beans, Corn and Sunflower Seeds to also include oats, wheat flour, eggs and other food matrices. Improved sample clean-up procedures allow for preparing samples for injection in half the time. See our expanded application in our poster presentation on Tuesday, September 20th.

Glyphosate is one of our classic applications, and as discussed in this quarter’s NACRW article, it has become very popular again due to the recent discovery of glyphosate in finished food products and urine of consumers. Find our previous newsletter article on the subject here: FDA Announces New Glyphosate Testing in Food.

Maria, Mike and David hope to see you at the upcoming AOAC International Conference in Dallas. Please stop by and say hello, or wave to Maria if you see her at her presentation Monday or at one of the expert panels she belongs to!

AOAC Meeting

aoac-largeDuring 2015 AOAC International meeting, Maria Ofitserova participated in several panels meetings and discussions.

Stakeholder Panel on Dietary Supplements (SPDS) had a full day meeting addressing several interesting topics. The panel received the updates from the working groups and issued a call for Methods and Experts in areas of analysis of Ashwagandha, Cinnamon, Folin C and Kratom.  Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPRs) presented by the Tea Supplement working group and  Aloin working group were discussed and approved. SPDS also launched three new working groups (Turmeric, Lutein and Collagen) that were meeting the next day to start reviewing fitness for purpose and standard method performance requirements.

Stakeholder Panel on Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals (SPIFAN) had a busy meeting on Saturday. The panel got updates on the group efforts to introduce SPIFAN Official Methods to CODEX and other international activities. Of the particular interest during this meeting was the presentation given on Chinese perspective on contaminants in milk and milk powder. The presentation brought better understanding of how regulations and methods approval process works in China. We also heard an update on long-standing issue of Whey protein/casein ratio in infant formula and milk powder.

SPIFAN Expert Review Panel met to discuss several methods submitted for First Action Status, Final Action Status and Dispute Resolution status. This year SPIFAN ERP was named “Expert Review Panel of the Year”.

Pickering is looking forward to continue its work as part of AOAC.

AOAC Mid-year Meeting, SPIFAN and Tea

AOACAOAC’s 5th Annual Mid-Year Meeting was held in Gaithersburg, Maryland March 16-20. Stakeholders panels, Working groups and Expert Review panels were working on developing consensus standards, evaluating and recommending the methods as well as identifying and prioritizing issues and needs in areas of Infant and Adult nutrition, food and produce safety and Dietary supplements.  

Maria Ofitserova attended the meeting of Stakeholder Panel on Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals (SPIFAN) where wide range of topics was discussed.  The Panel was updated on the state of methods to identify the Whey Protein content in formulas via amino acids analysis and approved Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPRs) for Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. There was a discussion about the urgent need for methods to determine Sodium Monofluoroacetate (Compound 1080) in response to threats to adulterate baby formula in New Zealand. Sodium Monofluoroacetate is used to control rodents, foxes, rabbits and other animals in Australia and New Zealand and is very toxic. The panel was able to review and approve three fit-for–purpose methods for analysis of Compound 1080. The Panel was also presented with information about harmonization of standards and methods to ensure safety and quality of infant and adult nutritional products and cooperation of AOAC with other organizations responsible for developing International Standards and Guidelines, such as CODEX and ISO.

The full-day session of SPIFAN Expert Review Panel (ERP) was dedicated to reviewing methods seeking to obtain the status of AOAC either First Action or Final Action Official Method.

AOAC Stakeholder Panel on Dietary Supplements (SPDS) launched three new working groups that will be developing Standard Method Performance Requirements for analysis of Aloin in Aloe, Vitamin D in supplements, premixes and raw materials and analysis of different components of tea, including catechins, theaflavins, and special amino acid Theanine.  Pickering is especially excited about being part of the Tea working group since we have developed an easy and robust method of analysis for Theanine and tea using cation-exchange column and post-column derivatization with Trione, Ninhydrin reagent.

Pickering Laboratories will continue working with AOAC groups to keep track of important issues in Food analysis and focus our R&D efforts.


AOAC International Annual Meeting in Boca Raton

This year’s meeting was held at the Boca Raton Resort in Florida.  sunsetWe had a booth this year as usual, and we presented our FREESTYLE ThermELUTE system, which is a great new automated system for fast and sensitive Mycotoxin analysis. We also shared some details about this new system in our Vendor presentation and our poster titled “Integrated Analysis and Automated Sample Cleanup of Aflatoxin B/G, M1, Ochratoxin A”banyon tree

In addition to ThermELUTE, Laszlo Torma and Maria Ofitserova were on hand to participate in several community meetings and Expert Review Panels and to present a second poster.

After the exhibition ended on Tuesday afternoon, we stayed to listen to Wednesday’s talks and to present our second poster on Glufosinate, titled simply, “Glufosinate and Glyphosate in Water”  While this herbicide is not necessarily a new topic, it’s certainly a challenging one, and with the developing resistance of the unwanted plants (i.e. weeds) to Glyphosate, growers are turning to this herbicide.

As a team, we sat in on a few sessions; this editor sat in on two:

Honey Production & Veterinary Drug Contamination: Fate & Control in which some new methods for analyzing antibiotics in honey were presented. One particularly interesting presentation highlighted the challenges of finding standards for several degradation products of the antibiotics in the honey.

Analytical Challenges with Chemicals of Emerging Concern to Test Food Quality and Safety: Presentations included studies about the uptake of Emerging contaminants (i.e. flame retardants, diphenhydramine) by crops using reclaimed water, and an interesting technique using metabolomics to determine the authenticity of herbs and spices. A third presenter described their analytical challenges when facing illegal food dyes, such as Rhodamine B in imported products. This last presentation was rather frightening due to the prevalence of these dyes in products from developing countries which are finding their way into our food supply.

Outside of the meeting rooms, the resort is located in a very affluent area of Boca Raton. It was rumored that Oprah Winfrey is a member of the golf club there. Indeed, while taking a short walk around the grounds, we saw a Ferrari, a Mazerati, and a Bentley. Not to mention several Mercedes Benz and Porsche. On the water were several megayachts, mega yachtand an Oyster sailing yacht. oysterThe sailboat included a paid crew, bow thrusters and electric winches, all of which would be very much appreciated by this editor on our boat (although some would argue that such conveniences are “cheating”).

All in all, it was a good meeting. We enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones.  We look forward to the 2015 meeting in Los Angeles, California.

boca view east

boca view north


AOAC International Meeting

fountainThe AOAC International held their annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois from August 25-27, 2013.

Pickering Laboratories were on hand to share our latest methods and instruments.  We also gave an Exhibitor Presentation titled “An Automated Highly Sensitive Method for Aflatoxin B/G or Ochratoxin A Clean-up and Analysis – A Novel Approach in Mycotoxin Analysis”

The purpose of the talk was to showcase our newest method and instrument:

Building on the FREESTYLE Automated Sample Preparation Instrument, the new ThermELUTE module and columns enable rapid, sensitive analysis of Aflatoxin or Ochratoxin A. The ThermELUTE module uses a thermal denaturation technique to release jellybean4toxin from a new column format requiring only 20% of usual solvent volumes, and FREESTYLE quantitatively transfers the eluate into the HPLC. In combination with online injection, analytical sensitivity can be increased without manual manipulation. The increase in sensitivity provides a reduction of sample load, while maintaining excellent chromatographic results. The increase of sensitivity allow analysis of mycotoxin levels well below regulatory limits.

The ThermELUTE takes the separate steps of cleanup and analysis, and combines them into one automated system. Using a FREESTYLE robotic system equipped with the

FREESTYLE Automated Sample Preparation System
FREESTYLE Automated Sample Preparation System

ThermELUTE module, we can now clean up a sample for mycotoxins, and then directly inject the cleaned sample onto the HPLC column for analysis!

Automating Mycotoxin Analyses from Cleanup to Detection:

  • Results 3 times faster
  • 80% less solvent
  • Direct connect to HPLC

The brochure for ThermELUTE can be found HERE. To view the slides from our presentation, click HERE.