Category Archives: paralytic shellfish toxin

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:

AOAC Pacific Northwest Section 2012

Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis Third Joint Symposium and AOAC Task Force Meeting
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma WA
June 18-22, 2012
The AOAC Pacific Northwest Section (link: annual meeting in Tacoma WA has just concluded. The meeting was full of informative oral presentations and posters ranging from natural disasters to algal blooms due to climate change. One recurring theme is the push to move away from the Mouse Bio-assay (MBA) for shellfish toxin testing. Recently there have been a few AOAC approved methods for toxin testing that do not involve injecting mice. A few oral presentations were updates on the success many labs are having in moving to these chemical methods and reducing the usage of the MBA. One of the successful approved methods is the Post-column Oxidation method for Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (link to PSP method abstract). Both the Pinnacle PCX and the Vector PCX (link to PCX brochure) post-column instruments have been used for this analysis. 
Pickering Laboratories was proud to sponsor the AOAC PNW annual meeting. We presented two posters at this year’s meeting. Please download them from the links and contact with any questions.
Method Abstract 103.5: Paralytic Shellfish Toxins
Method Abstract 102: Analysis of Biogenic Amines
Mt. Rainier

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:

2nd Joint Symposium and AOAC Task Force Meeting on Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis

Held in Baiona, Spain, May 1-5, 2011
By David Mazawa


Pickering Laboratories was proud to sponsor the Second Joint Symposium and AOAC Task Force Meeting of Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis. This growing symposium addressed new developments, method validation efforts, and method implementation in the analysis of marine and freshwater toxins. A variety of methods needs for detecting saxitoxins, domoic acids, okadaic acids, azaspiracids, other seafood toxins and the cyanobacterial toxins were addressed. Presentations and discussions addressed special needs of the community ranging from emerging toxins to the ongoing replacement of the mouse bioassay with modern and fully validated chemical methods. Principle sponsor of the symposium was the University of Vigo, Spain, Department of Analytical and Food Chemistry.

New methods have been recently validated in an effort to replace the Mouse Bioassay. Due to the hard work of Jeff van de Riet et al. in his single laboratory validated study, the HPLC post-column oxidation method for analysis of paralytic shellfish toxins (saxitoxins) in shellfish, is now an official AOAC method (AOAC OMA 2011.02). Pickering Laboratories was there to support this occasion and to show the symposium that we have instrumentation perfectly suited for this method. For details on the method, please visit our website or contact Pickering Laboratories Technical Support.  

To view the official method, members should log onto AOAC’s website:

Mouse Out! Chemistry In. Updates in Paralytic Shellfish Toxins

By Saji George

The paralytic shellfish toxins are a group of 18 secondary metabolites deposited in bivalve mollusks by dinoflagelates. Dinoflagelates blooms are seasonal, occurring during warm months. Since it is unpredictable whether an infestation will occur, the shellfish population should be regularly monitored for toxins. Ingestion of contaminated shellfish can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning; a life-threatening illness.

Mouse bioassay is the official method of AOAC International, but the drawbacks associated with this method have led to exploration of chemical methods. The most common HPLC post-column method is to oxidize the separated toxins under alkaline conditions to a fluorescent compound. Sullivan et al. used this method to determine the gonyautoxins 1-6 (GTX1-6), saxitoxin (STX) and neosaxitoxin (neoSTX) but not the N-sulfocarbamoyl-11-hydroxysulfate toxins (C1-C4). Oshima et al. modified this method to determine the 3 toxin groups separately using isocratic elution with 3 different mobile phases. Further improvement by Jeffery van de Riet of the Canadian Food inspection Agency (CFIA) in collaboration with National Research Council Canada (CNRC) has led to a shorter analysis time to determine the 3 groups of toxins using step gradient and a switching valve.

Marine Biotoxins were a hot topic at the recent Pacific Northwest AOAC meeting in Tacoma, WA. According to Jeff, this method is also the topic of an AOAC interlaboratory study (currently underway) and has already been approved by the Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) at the single laboratory validation (SLV) stage for use in the United States as a screening (type IV) method in shellfish monitoring. If approved by AOAC following the interlaboratory study as an official method of analysis (OMA) for shellfish, the method will then be eligible for consideration as a type II reference method by Codex Alimentarius This will also effectively end the use of mouse bioassays in shellfish monitoring within Canada.

This method was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pacific NW Section, held at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) in Tacoma, which offered extensive laboratory training workshops this past June.