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A blog on the latest applications, articles, & research on chromatography solutions in sample preparation, Ion Chromatography (IC),
High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Ion Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (IC-MS), Gas Chromatography (GC),
Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS and GC-MS/MS), and software (Chromeleon CDS, LIMS, and ProteinCenter).

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What Threatens your Heart More? Saturated Fat or Refined Carbohydrates?

fat content determination method

Like many others, I too have been following the ongoing story on the relationship between dietary fats and increased risk of cardiovascular disease not only from a personal standpoint but also from a chemist's perspective trying to find sample preparation solutions for challenging food matrices like extracting fat from processed foods like chocolate before analysis (link to downloadable PDF on method). In previous decades, the connection between dietary fats and increased risk of cardiovascular (link to peer-reviewed study) has been extensively studied and because of these studies, limiting saturated-fat consumption has been a long-standing dietary mantra for the past 30 years. But, recent meta-analyses of nearly two dozen studies, suggests that we may have picked the wrong culprit to reduce from our diets for decades. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease more than fat does—a finding that has serious implications for new U.S. dietary guidelines expected this year.

Wine Testing: Arsenic, Analysis and a Classic Movie

arsenic analysis in wine

“For a gallon of elderberry wine, I take a teaspoon full of arsenic then add half a teaspoon of strychnine and then just a pinch of cyanide,” says one of the adorable maiden aunts in the classic movie Arsenic and Old Lace (link to brilliant youtube clip) starring Cary Grant. You could be forgiven for thinking the recent news stories on trace element arsenic in wine came straight from this 1940s dark comedy but unfortunately it did not; this is an extremely serious food safety testing matter that has resulted in a lawsuit being filed.

Your Elemental Analysis is Costing you More Than you Think: Part 2

trace elemental analysis

In the second part to my three-part series on trace elemental analysis, I want to address automated, intelligent liquid dilution that can provide two benefits, namely, a reduction in costs and a speeding up of analysis resulting in increased productivity. In my previous blog post, titled, Your Elemental Analysis is Costing You More Than You Think: Part 1, (link to post) , I discussed the advantages in using a switching valve to introduce samples using a segmented stream instead of a continuous flow stream.

Effect of Sample Dilution on Matrix Effects in Pesticides Analysis

pesticides analysis in food

I recently read a publication that appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Yang et al, published ahead of print on January 25, 2015), titled, Effect of Sample Dilution on Matrix Effects in Pesticide Analysis of Several Matrices by Liquid-Chromatography−High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry, (link to article abstract). This in-depth evaluation of the effect of sample dilution on matrix effects in pesticide residue analysis is an excellent read and was coauthored by Paul Yang from Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Jon W. Wong, Kai Zhang, and Alexander J. Krynitsky at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Jian Wang at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and  our very own James S. Chang and Maciej Bromirski.

Authenticity of Dietary Supplements in Question: A Recall in New York- Part 2

dietary supplement recall

On Feb 5, 2015 I wrote a blog post, titled, Authenticity of Dietary Supplements in Question: A Recall in New York, (link to blog post). Now, I have a part 2 of this story, in that the State Attorney Generals from the States of Connecticut, Indiana and Puerto Rico along with New York have formed a coalition to expand the herbal supplement industry investigation (link to story).

Who Put Butter in My Beer?

analysis of vicinal diketones in beer

On a recent visit to the local pub with some friends for our ritual of beverage testing, specifically beer, we had a strange encounter. When the drinks were taste tested, two of my friends commented on the buttery taste of their beer. And even though each of us was accused of playing a prank on the others and we all denied it, it certainly didn’t spoil a great evening.

Honey Laundering: A Food Fraud That’s Not So Sweet

honey fraud testing

I love the term honey laundering, and in this continually growing food fraud scandal wouldn’t it be wonderful, almost romantic, if it were actually the bees that were perpetrating the crime and making all the money? I took some time to look into the background of honey adulteration, literature and analytical methods, specifically an isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) method which I know is used routinely for product authentication in the food safety testing market.

Breeding Program & Pesticides Use Propel Strawberries to Celebrityhood

pesticides strawberries

Strawberries are well on their way to becoming California’s newest celebrity as indicated by the two strawberries-related stories that have been much in the news in California this year. First, there have been serious disagreements between a university and the scientist running the university’s strawberry breeding program to the extent of the media labeling it as a feud (see links to stories below). The second debate formed around the use of certain pesticides in California. This led to California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation establishing the the nation’s strictest limits on chloropicrin, a pesticide commonly injected into soil before strawberries are planted. (Links to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation page and their chloropicrin page.) Both stories are causing much interest and concern in the strawberry-growing community.

Rapid Fruit Juice Analysis: A Case Study at the J.M. Smuckers Co.

analysis of glucose, fructose, and sucrose in jams purees

What does it take in terms of process analysis and control to manufacture jams, purees, and fruit juice from fresh, sweet summer fruits? Historically, wet chemistry methods have been been used to analyze raw materials and fruit juice products in a manufacturing setting, but this is a slow tedious process and for labs requiring a high turnover of samples is not efficient or timely.

Your Elemental Analysis is Costing You More Than You Think: Part 1

inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry

In this three-part series blog post on trace elemental analysis, I will discuss key focus areas for a laboratory intent on maximizing its productivity and improving its profitability. In this first post, I will discuss the use of a switching valve to conduct elemental analysis and describe the use of a segmented stream during sample analysis and highlight its advantages over those when a continuous flow stream is employed. 

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