Category Archives: natural products

Pickering Exhibits at Pittcon 2013

This year’s Pittcon was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from March 17-21, 2013.

view of philly from the museum On display were Pinnacle PCX, EluVAC, and a video of the FREESTYLE Automated Sample Preparation Instrument.  The video was a new technique for us, and it was well received.

The video in our booth was a combination of the separate videos for each module of the FREESTYLE Automated Sample Preparation Instrument. You can view the originals here (they are very informative, and we highly recommend them): FREESTYLE VIDEOS

Wendy, Mike and David enjoyed visiting with existing and future customers, as well as our distributors from around the world, including our Canadian distributor, Chromatographic Specialties.

Before the show opened, we had the opportunity to explore the city.  Philadelphia is one of our oldest cities and is full of history and landmarks. Some of this editor’s favorites include Independence Hall and the surrounding neighborhoods, and the Art Museum (see more below).  On this trip, we explored Reading Terminal Market, and sampled that famous cuisine, the Philly Cheese steak Sandwich. I’m told it is not truly a Philly Steak sandwich unless you have it with Cheez Whiz. Any type of real cheese doesn’t count. I made that mistake on my first trip to Philadelphia, and the man behind the counter let me know it!  I wasn’t about to make that mistake again:

philly cheesesteak

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is known for its amazing collection of artwork (viewed on a previous visit), but is also made famous by the scene of Sylvester Stallone running up the stairs in the movie Rocky.  Since the author of this entry happened to be training for a race, she decided that a little cold wasn’t going to stop her. So she put on her iPod (Rocky Theme playing, of course), and ran from the hotel to the top of the steps and back (total distance: about 2.8miles).

view from the bottom

wendy philly top of steps

wendy rockyOn the return to the hotel, I came across a version of the LOVE sculpture, by American Artist Robert Indiana. I always thought it was was much bigger…

love sculpture


For those of you interested in learning more about the sculpture, click HERE

If you’re ever in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is definitely worth a visit.

But if you can’t make the trip to Philadelphia, you could also stay home and watch Rocky…

Pickering exhibits in Las Vegas

-By Mike Gottschalk

Las Vegas, Nevada – Oct. 1 – 5 was the site of the AOAC international show this year.  Pickering Laboratories participated as usual in this important International event. “We see many of our customers and distributors from all over the world at this show” said Wendy Rasmussen, sales manager Pickering Laboratories. “We get to show our new products and catch up with them with new developments in their business.”

Pickering Laboratories presented Posters of our new applications Chrome VI and Antioxidants in foods. The herbal supplement market is a growing market and with FDA guidance, more concerned with testing for quality in their products. “We continue to develop methods in matrices important to this market including the antioxidants, Aflatoxins, Amino Acids and others”  said Laszlo Torma, technical liaison for Pickering Laboratories.

The AOAC international show enables laboratories and suppliers to be involved in the mission of creating analytical methods for today’s most pressing testing challenges. Pickering Laboratories is an award winning member of several committees and laboratory collaborations to further the goal of analytical excellence.

Las Vegas, Nevada – Nov. 6-9 – Yes! Las Vegas Again! This time for the annual Supply Side West show.  1,800 vendors and 30,000 participants meet to network and explore resources in this, the largest gathering of Herbal supplement suppliers and vendors.  Now that the FDA enforcements are increasing, many Herbal supplement manufacturers are working hard to improve their analytical testing capabilities and Pickering Laboratories is there to help.  “With several methods for herbal supplement testing and extensive experience in the food safety industry we can offer experience and laboratory equipment support to the herbal supplement manufactures” – said Mike Gottschalk, VP Marketing, Pickering Laboratories.

Laszlo Torma enjoys the sights and sounds of “Venice”

Pickering Laboratories is a member of the “American Herbal Products Association” and member of the Laboratories Methods Committee for AHPA. The collaboration with AHPA and the Supply Side West show have provided valuable insight to the needs of the Supplement community and the unique capabilities Pickering Laboratories can offer this market.

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.