Category Archives: dietary supplements

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.

Pickering Laboratories in 2013

By Wendy Rasmussen

In recent years, we have released several new products and applications, and with still more on the horizon, it occurred to me that now would be a great time to summarize the Pickering of today – our mindset and our wide variety of products & applications.

Acai Berries
Acai Berries

No longer are we simply the “Post-Column Company”. We are the “Automated-Sample Antioxidants” company.  Think of us as the new “super fruit.” The Acai berry, or perhaps the new Chia Seeds (incidentally, we do have a post-column application for the identification & quantitation of  Antioxidants in a variety of matrices).

We are still very active, and we as a company plan to be here for many years to come. We are still the company founded on chemistry and a desire to to teach, to spread our technical expertise, to support our customers.

It’s been a few years now since Pickering began distributing and supporting our LCTech Product line.  The products have shown an ever increasing interest here in the US and in Canada (our official Sales Territory for this product line). We are very proud to offer these products and we hope we can develop it further in the future.

Historically, we have provided the back-end of an analysis (post-column derivatization). Nowadays, we can provide the front-end of analysis as well (the sample-cleanup).

In thinking about our product offerings, I realized that a simple list does not effectively show the scope of the products we have to offer in 2013 – primarily because we have a lot of overlap between products and product lines.  We’re not a vertical company in that regard.  I suppose one could say our product offerings are more circular in that many do not fall into a single distinct category.  I am a very visual person, and for me, a Venn diagram and our overall “product scale” really helped to understand and clarify our products:

Venn Diagram of Pickering Laboratories
Venn Diagram of Pickering Laboratories
General "Product Scale" for Pickering Offerings
General “Product Scale” for Pickering Offerings
For those of who like lists, you can find one Here, on Pickering’s website, and on LCTech’s Website

For any Questions, please feel free to contact us:

Pickering Laboratories, Inc.
Mountain View, California
Phone: (direct) 650-694-6700 or (toll-free) 800-654-3330


Image of Acai Berries:

Pickering Products

Mycotoxins: Clean-up Columns, ELISA Kits, Post-Column Derivatization Instruments & Methods, SPE manifolds (manual & automated) for the analysis of:

Ochratoxin A
Fumonisin FB1, FB2
Ergot Alkaloids

Post-Column Derivatization: Pinnacle PCX, Vector PCX, UVE Photochemical Reactor, Columns, Reagents, Eluants for the analysis of:

Mycotoxins (individual and multi-residue)
Amino Acids
Biogenic Amines
Paralytic Shellfish Toxin
Polyether Antibiotics
Hexavalent Chromium
Carbamate Pesticides
Glyphosate Herbicide

Sample Preparation (clean-up) Instruments:

FREESTYLE for SPE, GPC, online-concentration
FREESTYLE ThermELUTE for Aflatoxin analysis (direct inject onto HPLC)
AcceCLEAN for SPE (incl. Immunoaffinity columns)
EluVAC vacuum manifold for SPE (incl. Immunoaffinity columns)
GPC QUATTRO for manual GPC Cleanup
DECS System for the cleanup of samples for Dioxin analysis

Chemistry Products:

Artificial Perspiration
Artificial Saliva
High Purity Water

Stand-Alone OEM Syringe Pump:

For any applications requiring an inert flow path, volumes up to 70mL, and pressures up to 500psi

For More Information visit:

or email:

SupplySide West Expo 2011

By Mike Gottschalk

Laszlo Torma inside the Venetian Hotel & Casino

The Supplyside West Conference is a very important Herbal Supplement Industry event. It provides important educational and networking opportunities to this $29 billion market. Since the FDA set out required current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) in 2007, the Herbal Supplement producers are working to meet the new requirements before the FDA audits. These regulations are intended to insure the quality, purity and safety of the Herbal Supplement products available today.  

The show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 19-23. Pickering Laboratories exhibited at the show. We introduced our instruments, and methods to the industry. Of primary concern are Mycotoxins and Amino Acids, but also pesticides. Our GPC Clean-up and post-column instruments are well-suited to these applications. 

In addition to the literature and instruments in the booth, we presented two posters:

“Immunoaffinity Clean-up and  Analysis of Aflatoxins and Ochratoxin A in Herbs & Spices using HPLC with Post-column Photochemical Derivatization”

The production of herbal supplements and spices is a fast growing industry. There are numerous reports on the presence of Mycotoxins in commercially available herbs and spices such as chamomile, black and white tea leaves, ginkgo leaves, paprika and cumin. We developed a simple, sensitive and robust HPLC-Post Column Derivatization method for analyzing Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2 and Ochratoxin A in herbs and spices. AflaOTAClean Immunoaffinity columns contain antibodies specific for both classes of Mycotoxins and allow for fast and efficient sample clean-up. We used the AcceClean automated workstation, which processes three samples simultaneously.

“Accelerated Amino Acids using HPLC with Post-Column Derivatization”

We developed an accelerated amino acids analysis method for Physiological and Protein Hydrolysate samples that utilizes temperature and eluant gradients. Protein Hydrolysates can be analyzed in 48min (inject-to-inject). Amino Acid Analysis is an important step in the Quality Control and R&D of dietary supplements, sports drinks, pharmaceuticals and in any type of sample where the amino acid content is of importance. The objective of the study was to reduce the total run time of Amino Acid Analysis by implementing both a column temperature gradient and a linear buffer gradient using HPLC with Post-column derivatization.
If you would like a copy of either or both of these posters or any additional information  about our products, please feel free to send us an email or give us a call:

Phone: Toll-free: 800-654-3330 Direct: 650-694-6700

Dinner on the canal in “Venice”

Pickering Laboratories Introduces Key Products to Herbal Supplements Market

By Mike Gottschalk

The Supplyside West Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada October 19-23, is a very important Herbal Supplement Industry event. It provides important educational and networking opportunities to this $29 billion market. Since the FDA sent out required current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) in 2007, the Herbal Supplement producers are working to meet the new requirements before the FDA audits. These regulations are intended to insure the quality, purity and safety of the Herbal Supplement products available today. Pickering Laboratories had a booth at the show to assist the producers and laboratories with the instrumentation, chemistry, methods, and support for the analysis and clean-up of samples for Amino Acids, Aflatoxins, Carbamate pesticides, Glyphosate Herbicides, and 23 other methods.

Click on the links to see our Latest Method Abstracts, introduced at the show:
1) MA 215: Clean-up and Determination of Alfatoxins in Peanuts and Peanut Butter 

2) MA 218: Clean-up and Analysis of Aflatoxins and Ochratoxin A in Herbs and Spices 

The annual meeting of the AOAC International in Orlando, Florida on September 20-25, also had a strong emphasis on Herbal Supplements testing. The AOAC organization is central to FDA efforts to provide analytical structure to testing methods for this newly regulated industry. Pickering Laboratories participated in the AOAC sponsored Single Laboratory Validation of Multi-residue Mycotoxin Analysis in Corn. For this work, Pickering Laboratories was awarded the “Single Lab Validation of the Year”. This pivotal work in the analysis of Mycotoxins continues in Herbal Supplements as well as agricultural products.

Send us an email to to request a copy of our poster: “Clean-up and Determination of Alfatoxins in Peanuts and Peanut” from the AOAC show.

Our next show is Pittcon 2011 on March 13-18 in Atlanta, Georgia.

See you there!

NIST/NIH Dietary Supplements Quality Assurance Program Workshop

By Wendy Rasmussen

Natural products industry is under increasing pressure to increase analytical testing of raw materials and finished products. This not only includes contaminants (such as heavy metals, pesticides, and mycotoxins), but also identification and nutrition labeling.

The DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act) created the Office of Dietary Supplements in 2002. The Dietary Supplement Quality Assurance Program, is a collaboration between the NIH’s ODS and the NIST. The program consists of Exercises in which several samples are sent out to participating labs throughout the year, and the results are then analyzed in a report. This is a completely voluntary exercise, and it gives a laboratory a great opportunity to check their results against a certified value and also against those of their peers. Even though participation is not part of a regulatory certification, the choice to participate greatly increases confidence and credibility.

And since the NIST are working closely with the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements, I asked the ODS if they could describe the relationship:

“The DSQAP is part of the ODS Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program. We’ve been funding them to produce supplement matrix reference materials since about 2002. A few years ago, we discovered that NIST had QA programs for other commodities, and we thought that a dietary supplement program would complement the reference materials already being produced and added funding to the inter agency agreement we already had in place with them. While we are a funder for the NIST program, it could be described as more of a collaboration than a strict funding relationship. NIST pretty much matches our funding with internal funding. “

The NIST website also does a good job of describing the program in more detail. If you would like to participate in the DSLQAP, they would love to have more participants, just send them an email to the address on the above webpage.

This past September, the NIST hosted a workshop in Bethesda, MD which brought together participants from several sample exercises. This was a great opportunity for labs and companies to come together to discuss and learn. Pickering Laboratories participated in the most recent Exercises by analyzing Aflatoxin in peanut samples.

We used our Photochemical reactor (UVE) and our AflaCLEAN Immunoaffinity columns for the sample cleanup. The results can be found on our new application note and in a presentation given to the group at the workshop.

We gave a quick presentation to the group on Thursday morning, detailing our method and results. We would love to share our talk titled simply  “Aflatoxin Analysis”. Just send us an email to and we’ll send you a copy!

The Photochemical derivatization of Aflatoxins has been shown to be a very rugged and sensitive method for analyzing low-levels of the toxins. And the Immunoaffinity columns can be used to cleanup a very wide variety of sample matrices. Indeed, there have been several publications showing the results using Photochemical Derivatization.

We are now distributing Mycotoxin Immunoaffinity products for Ochratoxin and Aflatoxin. The performance and batch-to-batch reproducibility of the columns is exceptional and far exceeds that of other manufacturers. The columns can be used for any matrix, from wine and juice, to nuts and grains, to herbs and spices. Contact Sales for more information.

Definition of Acronyms:
NIH – National Institutes of Health
ODS – Office of Dietary Supplements, part of NIH
NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology
DSLQAP – Dietary Supplement Laboratory Quality Assurance Program, formed by the ODS in collaboration with NIST
AHPA – American Herbal Products Association
AOAC – Association of Analytical Chemists

Laszlo Torma has also contributed a very nice piece about our Membership in the AHPA on our blog.


American Herbal Products Association

This year we joined the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and I was appointed to the joint Botanical Raw Materials, Standards and Analytical Labs committee. AHPA is a national trade organization and it is focusing on promoting the responsible commerce of herbal products.

AHPA is also involved with key scientists and organizations that conduct research on herbs and maintain an active role with the various standards –setting organizations.

AHPA and AOACI are working together to establish and validate analytical methods for herbal products.

I attended the AHPA meeting in California for the first time in March. They are a very active and interesting association. They promote self-regulation, crisis management, education and other areas. They usually meet jointly with Natural Products Expo (East and West) which is a private, very large trade show.

AHPA also encourages member and contract laboratories to participate in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Dietary Supplement Laboratory Quality Assurance Program. This program allows laboratories to perform specific analyses and to see their results against known values. Pickering Laboratories is participating in this

Quality Assurance Program in the area of analysis of aflatoxins in peanut products.