Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pickering to Attend the Upcoming Emerald Conference

The Emerald Conference has become the largest, most anticipated cannabis conference as it enters its fifth year in existence. The conference will be held from February 27th through March 1st and Pickering Laboratories is attending for the first time. We will be represented by Sareeta Nerkar, one of our research chemists.

Sareeta is looking forward to the beautiful 15-acre Peninsula, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, but her trip to San Diego isn’t all relaxation! She will be presenting posters on Pickering Labs’ cannabis-related applications, both Cannabinoids Analysis in Cannabis and Edibles and our latest Analysis of Mycotoxins in Cannabis Plant and Cannabis-Containing Products.

Hopefully this new conference will be engaging and informative, as Sareeta looks forward to learning about the newest scientific advancements in the cannabis industry.

If you’re in attendance, please feel free to stop by the posters and ask Sareeta all about the cannabis applications!

For more information about Pickering’s cannabis research please check our our archived article and visit our webpage for the latest application note releases.

Pickering Laboratories will Exhibit at Pittcon 2019

PITTCON 2019 is the 69th meeting of the Pittsburgh Conference in Philadelphia bringing the world of Analytical Chemistry Manufacturers in one place to exhibit the latest in instrumentation and applications.

Pickering laboratories will be exhibiting this year with exciting products and applications. Every year new Post Column products and applications are unveiled to new and current customers to demonstrate how Pickering Laboratories continues to expand the reach of Post Column Derivatization technology to address the new important analysis challenges in the news today.

The Pickering Test Solutions product lines continues to expand the number of artificial body fluid testing solutions for product testing applications. New this year is the addition of Artificial Ocean Water to this list and the first product for the Environmental product testing solutions category.

Visit us at Pittcon booth 2445 and make an entry in the drawing for a “Bose noise masking sleepbuds” (these are really cool check them out ) Plus all the other free stuff we offer.

Glyphosate News Update On China

Pickering Laboratories continues keeping an eye on Glyphosate situation around the globe. It has been announced that China is set to introduce Maximum Residue Limits for all imported final foods and raw material at 200 ppb or lower of Glyphosate by the end of 2019. These requirements would include all the grains, soybeans and other legumes. Right now China has no Maximum Residue Limits for Glyphosate so setting such low limits is bound to change the way countries importing food to China use this herbicide.

All the foods that will be affected by the new regulations could be analyzed for Glyphosate using Pickering Laboratories Post-column Derivatization Method

The highest level of contamination is found in crops such as oats and barley that are treated with Glyphosate right before harvest to desiccate the plants. Many countries, including the US, established high Residue Limits for Glyphosate in such crops. For example, US limits for Glyphosate in barley is 30 ppm and in oats is 20 ppm. Introducing limits at 200 ppb would most likely cause a decrease the use of Glyphosate as a desiccant and should increase testing. In fact, Australia, one of the biggest importers of food to China is considering banning the use of Glyphosate as a desiccant.

Interestingly, the decrease in Glyphosate use will be affecting China’s chemical production industry since currently China is the largest producer of Glyphosate and exports more than 60% of this chemical. But we certainly hope that tighter limits and increased testing for Glyphosate is be adopted by other countries as well for sake of everybody’s health as well as the health of Pickering business.

Pickering’s 2018 Holiday Party Recap

By Rebecca Smith and Gloria Garcia

Our customers may not know this, but our very own Gloria Garcia plans an amazing holiday party annually for all of Pickering  Laboratories’ employees and their guests. This year our celebration was a dinner cruise on the San Francisco Bay!

We cruised out of the Berkeley Marina on a brisk Saturday evening and our vessel was the perfect size for our small but festive group! Commodore Hornblower Cruises did a fabulous job with the party; we were treated to a fun crew and great service! To our delight, it was a perfectly clear evening out on the water! (As you might know, San Francisco tends to have a bit of fog from time to time.)

Here’s a taste of our fantastic views of the Bay Bridge and the beautiful twinkles of the city skyline!

With such an excellent light show out every window, it took some awesome food and a lively DJ to capture our attention inside.  Gloria organized several hilarious after-dinner games to keep the crowd entertained, including a hybrid musical-chairs-scavenger-hunt and a modified hot potato game!

Here’s a great photo of Jim Murphy and Judy Pickering (looks like they found some tasty wine)!

Someone captured a live action shot of Gloria and Rebecca (are we on the dance floor?) to share.

We enjoyed a great night of good friends, fun games, dancing and plenty of holiday cheer! It was a fun way to close out 2018 and ring in 2019. We send our thanks to Gloria again for her hard work – we certainly appreciated the excellent results and we hope you enjoyed the pictures.

From all of us at Pickering Labs, we wish you the very best in the New Year!

Chromatography Quiz #31 – Glyphosate Doublet Peak

Chromatography Quiz #30: Aflatoxins Decreased Signal – RESULTS

Pickering Labs would like to congratulate all of our winners for our previous newsletter’s Aflatoxins Chromatography Quiz: Mark Ritari from Anatek Labs, Thomas Scott from Diversified Laboratories, Tom Schneider from Suffolk County Water Authority, Narjes Ghafoori from LA County Environmental Toxicology Lab, Jiufeng Fan from Glaxo Smith Kline, and Ankita Gambhir from KFMC.

Winners will soon receive an Amazon eGift Card, redeemable towards a vast array of items store-wide at  Happy shopping, winners! We wish you cheers and success in the New Year!

Congratulations to our quiz winners!

Thank you all for your submissions!




The correct answers for the Aflatoxins quiz:

A decrease in signal could be due to a bad autosampler, old/degraded standard, aged reactor loop, or aged UV lamp in the photochemical reactor.

Chromatography Quiz #31 – Glyphosate Doublet Peak:

Identify the error made when running the Glyphosate chromatogram below and win a prize!

Simply email your answer and your full contact information to Rebecca at by April 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).

Glyphosate Analysis for US EPA Method 547:

Normal Operating Conditions: (for reference only, changes may be reflected in chromatogram)

Customer’s Glyphosate Standard: 25 ppb, 100 µL injection

Pickering Column: 1954150 Cation-exchange Column for Glyphosate Analysis, 4 x 150 mm

Column Temperature: 55 °C

Flow rate: 0.4 mL/min

Eluent Gradient:

Post-column Conditions for Pesticide Analysis:

Reagent 1: Oxidizing reagent – 100uL of 5% Sodium Hypochlorite in 950mL of GA116

Reagent 2: 100 mg of OPA, 2 g Thiofluor™ in 950 mL of GA104

Reactor 1: 36 °C, 0.5 mL

Reactor 2: ambient. 0.1 mL

Reagent flow rates: 0.3 mL/min

Detection: Fluorometer λex 330 nm, λem 465 nm







Free-Range Parenting, Pasture-Raised Eggs and No Antibiotics Ever Chickens

By Rebecca Smith

As most of you know, Pickering Labs is a small company.  We all work on a single shift, so pretty much everyone is in the lunch room at the same time each day.  That makes for a wide range of conversational topics daily, which are often influenced by the San Jose Mercury newspaper on the table or the contents of the local news the evening before. 

When Utah passed their “Free-Range Parenting” law, it made national news back in March.  It also made conversation in the Pickering breakroom!  We discussed the definition provided for free-range parenting and concluded that here at Pickering we needed more options for defining parenting styles.  Enter the new supplemental phrases: cage-free parenting and pasture-raised parenting!  Taken from the Humane Farm Animal Care Standards, we decided that a cage-free child was the most closely supervised, followed by a free-range child (allowed some autonomy) and finally a pasture-raised child, which was given the most license to roam.  It’s interesting that although most of us considered ourselves to have been pasture-raised in our childhoods, many of the staff employed a more cage-free or free-range style when raising their own children. 

As Saji, Anita and Gabriela discussed the pros and cons of degrees of parental supervision (while giving David plenty of advice for raising his 15-month old daughter), I wondered what impact the ‘parenting’ differences had on the hens and their eggs…  It was lunchtime after all! 

It appears that pasture-raised eggs might have health benefits over commercially-raised eggs, including increased omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin A, and beta carotene.  They also have reduced cholesterol and saturated fats, both of which the American Heart Association recommends reducing in your diet to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.  The differences in the eggs come from the chickens’ diet: pasture-raised hens eat grass and bugs in addition to the grain feed given to commercially-raised hens.

So, while we’re talking about the chickens’ diet and lifestyle, what else can contribute to the health and wellbeing of these hens?  After additional research, I discovered that poultry farming comes with its own bill of rights!  Called the Five Freedoms for Poultry, chickens are raised humanely when their basic needs are met (food, water, safety) but they are also given the freedom to express their natural behaviors and they have rapid access to diagnosis and treatment of injury or disease. 

Now I’m onto something!  But does a happier chicken make a tastier egg, or just a healthier one?  It’s hard to find scientific studies on taste, although you can find loads of data on the differences in composition of meats raised in different ways.  Composition impacts how healthy the egg is, but when it comes to its actual taste, apparently the mindset of the person tasting and the color of the egg might have more bearing on perceived taste than anything else, including whether the hen was pasture-raised or conventionally-raised. 

Even if taste isn’t a factor, purchasing healthier eggs and meat coming from happier hens can still be a worthwhile grocery shopping practice!  Top concerns include the environmental and human health effects of antibiotics use in the production of food, a topic that has gained steam in consumer awareness in more recent years and has been studied for several decades internationally.  As the public increases its attention on antibiotics use and antimicrobial resistance, farmers are beginning to make changes to the manner in which antibiotics are used in livestock farming.  And for good reason, as their livelihood could face increased pressure from the eventual market introduction of synthetic or lab-grown meats

In response to consumer concerns regarding food production, moving away from antibiotics use became a top priority for Perdue Foods, one of the biggest poultry producers in the United States.  Perdue began the process of raising poultry without antibiotics fifteen years ago, and they have hit a major milestone with 100% of the birds they produced in 2017 raised “No Antibiotics Ever,” meaning that from hatchery through slaughter, the birds are never treated with any antibiotics during their lifetime.  If the use of antibiotics become medically necessary for a bird, the animal is treated as needed but removed from Perdue Foods branded production.  All human and animal antibiotics have been removed from the feed and hatchery, and animals are raised in a way that does not require antibiotics for disease prevention. 

In fact, remember the Five Freedoms of Poultry?  Perdue continues to improve their implementation of the Animal Care Initiative, adding windows and enrichments to encourage bird activity.  Says Mike Leventini, manager of live production activities at Perdue Foods: “We believe an active chicken is a healthy chicken, it simply goes hand in hand.”  An impressive philosophy to implement for a company that processes 13 million birds per week from over 2,100 farms around the United States! 

Did you know Pickering Labs services the animal feed industry?!  We offer post-column methodology, instruments and consumables for the analysis of polyether antibiotics in animal feeds as well as the analysis of aminoglycoside antibiotics in feeds and the analysis of sugars in feeds.  We are also continuously improving our amino acids analysis in feeds and offer a wide range of post-column methods for oxidized and unoxidized feed samples

Most recently, our R&D team released a fast and sensitive method for the analysis of fumonisins in grains and feeds, which is particularly of interest due to the health problems caused in horses and swine.  You might remember our contaminated feed concerns from a previous newsletter article which discussed the risks of mycotoxins to livestock. 



Chromatography Quiz #29

Chromatography Quiz #28: 35th Anniversary Word Puzzle – Results

Pickering Labs would like to congratulate all of our winners for our previous newsletter’s 35th Anniversary Word Puzzle: Jim Balk from Nebraska DHHS Public Health Environmental Laboratory, Tom Schneider from Suffolk County Water Authority, Karissa Scroggins from North Coast Laboratories, Narjes Ghafoori from LA County Environmental Toxicology Lab, Joy Gottlieb from New Mexico Department of Health Scientific Lab Division, Hossein Hajipour from Texas Dept. of State Health Services Laboratories, and Widchuda Meeim from Thailand Bureau of Quality Control of Livestock Products.

Winners will soon receive a Packing Organizer Set from the Container Store! This colorful set of 6 packing cubes are durable and clearly labeled to help you organize your suitcase! Just in time as you plan for those summer getaways!

Congratulations to our quiz winners and happy packing!

Thank you all for your submissions! 


The correct answers for the Anniversary Word Puzzle are as follows:

Chromatography Quiz #29 – Amino Acids Elevated Baseline:

Simply email your answer as well as your full contact information to Rebecca at by July 15, 2018 in order to win.  You will receive email confirmation that your submission has been received.  The answer to the quiz and winner congratulations will be published in the next issue (to be anonymous, please notify Rebecca in submission). 

Maroon: Good chromatogram

Blue: Elevated baseline

What could be contributing to the elevated baseline?