Dec 07

Total Polar Compounds in frying oil

TRIAL SAMPLE: 796 (February 2017)

Oils and fats represent one of the three major classes of food constituents together with carbohydrates and proteins. Deep-fat frying is one of the most popular cooking procedures and leads to the production of both desirable and undesirable compounds. The cooking process affects the physicochemical characteristics and quality of the frying medium and the fried product itself.

French fries

The quality of oils and fats during the frying process has a major influence on the quality of the final product. Thermal processing of frying oils leads to oxidative and hydrolytic reactions i.e. hydrolysis and polymerisation and these chemical and physical changes lead to the formation of many volatile and non-volatile decomposition products. The majority of the non-volatile compounds formed during frying are, for convenience, classified as “Total Polar compounds” (TPC) and the formation of such compounds during repeated frying has been shown to increase with the degree of oil unsaturation.

The determination of the percentage of Total polar compounds (% TPC) is one of the most reliable methods for monitoring the quality changes in oils during the frying process and it reflects the degradation of the oil after repeated use. In order to protect consumers, several countries and International bodies have issued recommendations or a regulation which set maximum limits for the percentage of TPC, and regulates the use of oils & fats subjected to frying. Countries that control the quality of frying oil include:

 

A/A COUNTRY LEGISLATION/RECOMMENDATION LIMITS %TPC
1 France Legislation 25
2 Germany Recommendations by the German Society for Fat Science (DGF) 24
3 Italy Legislation 25
4 Poland Legislation 25
5 Spain Legislation 25
6 Brazil Recommendation 25
7 South Africa Regulation 25

 

The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released a statement dated 23rd September 2016, which addresses the issue of or repeated use of edible oils in cooking and frying of food by amending current standards (Food Products Standards and Food additives-FSS) to set a maximum limit for % TPC.

In light of the increasing concern, LGC Standards has included a new sample, total polar compounds in frying oil to the food chemistry proficiency testing scheme (QFCS). Palm oil was chosen as a material for this proficiency testing (PT) trial sample.  It is extensively used in commercial frying, fat spreads and generally in the food industry as it is the cheapest of all major edible oils and it is produced in the greatest quantity worldwide.  The fatty acid composition of palm oil is 50% saturated and 50 % unsaturated fat, it is relatively stable to oxidation and is naturally semi solid in room temperature, so does not require hydrogenation to become solid. You can find more details in Scheme Documentation.

By Savvas Xystouris, Technical/Development Manager, Proficiency Testing, LGC Standards

For more from LGC Standards, please click here.

Nov 17

New strict codes of practice for mitigating acrylamide formation

In September 2016, the E.U. Commission presented an amended regulation proposal for acrylamide, based on feedback from the stakeholders’ consultation. The Regulation is proposed to be made under Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, and it sets out a requirement for food business operators to take account of strict new codes of practice for reducing acrylamide formation, as part of their food safety management systems.

The E.U. Commission has recommended that member states should continue the collection of acrylamide monitoring data and as with previous surveys, send the data to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).  Given the increased spotlight on acrylamide in both the EU and globally, it is certain that regulatory authorities will continue to monitor acrylamide levels in food, to determine whether further action/regulation is needed.

Many types of savoury snack in white dishes

Acrylamide is a process contaminant, formed in numerous baked or fried carbohydrate-rich foods as a result of high temperature cooking at >120 °C (248 °F). It is formed from reducing sugars and the amino acid asparagine (a building block of proteins) as part of the Malliard reaction.

The vast majority of evidence from animal studies suggests that acrylamide and its metabolite glycidamide are genotoxic and carcinogenic i.e. they have the potential to damage DNA and cause cancer.  However, the majority of human studies have not yet shown direct correlation with cancer therefore it is classified as a possible carcinogen in Group 2A by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The intake of large amounts of acrylamide may also cause neurotoxic and hormonal disorders. Based on the results of monitoring in the Member States from 2007–2011, the EU Commission has set ‘indicative values’ for acrylamide in various food products. The most recent indicative values are laid down in Commission Recommendation (EC) No. 647/2013. In June 2015, EFSA published its first full risk assessment of acrylamide in food. The report reconfirmed previous evaluations, that acrylamide in food can potentially increase the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups.

WHO/JEFCA: In 2010, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) concluded that acrylamide is a human health concern, suggested additional long-term studies and advised that exposure to acrylamide in food should be as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

CODEX: The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has developed a Code of Practice for the reduction of acrylamide in food to disseminate best practice to manufacturers.

USA: In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance to help the food industry reduce the amount of acrylamide in certain foods, but these are recommendations, not regulations.

CHINA: The China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA), published a paper for the Dietary exposure of the Chinese population to acrylamide, confirming it is a potential health concern for consumers, and recommending efforts should be made to reduce acrylamide in Chinese food. The EFSA & CFSA are due to sign an agreement on food safety in November 2016 during the China International Food Safety & Quality Conference/Expo jointly organised by the EFSA and EU Commission.

In light of the increasing concern, and the potential for higher demand for acylamide analysis, LGC Standards have included a new sample, for the analysis of acrylamide in snacks, to the food chemistry proficiency testing scheme (QFCS). Find out more in our scheme documentation.

References
EFSA Panel on contaminants in the food chain (CONTAM), ‘Scientific Opinion on acrylamide in food’, EFSA Journal, 13(6):4104, 2015. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4104/epdf, (accessed 17 October 2016)

EFSA, Acrylamide in food is a public health concern, 2015 https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/150604, (accessed 20 October 2016)

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), ‘EPIC Study: The Acrylamide Working group’, http://epic.iarc.fr/research/acrylamide.php  (accessed 17 October 2016)
Zhou Ping Ping et al., ‘Dietary exposure of the Chinese population to Acrylamide’, Biomed Environ Sci, Vol. 26 (6), 2013, pp.421-429. Available from cfsa.net.cn, (accessed 20 October 2016)

By Savvas Xystouris, Technical/Development Manager, Proficiency Testing.

For more from LGC Standards, please click here.

Nov 15

Underpinning measurements: written standards

Reference materials are a type of measurement standard used to validate analytical methods, establish traceability and support quality control. They are particularly important for analytical chemistry and clinical analysis as most analytical instrumentation is comparative so samples of known composition (reference materials) are needed to ensure accurate calibration.

A reference material (RMs) can either be a pure substance, e.g. an immunosuppressant certified for purity, or a matrix material, e.g. ‘drinking water’ containing a range of commonly found compounds.

logo_isoThe development, production, and certification of reference materials are supported by a number of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Guides. These guides, adopted by over 160 countries, ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for purpose. In order to maintain their relevance and ensure their appropriateness, ISO Guides are revised every 5 years.

LGC scientists working as part of our UK National Measurement Laboratory and Designated Institute for chemical and bio-measurement function provide the UK representation on the ISO Reference Materials Committee (REMCO) and the chair of the UK Reference Material Working Group. Within these committees we have taken a leading role in the latest revisions of the reference material guides ISO Guide 34 (General requirements for the competence of reference material producers) and ISO Guide 35 (Reference materials – General and statistical principles for certification).

To support the evolving regulatory needs with the reference material field, such as the introduction of national accreditation schemes for reference material producers, ISO Guide 34 has not only been revised but has also been converted to an international standard in the 17000 series. This series includes well known accreditation standards such as ISO17025.

LGC has been instrumental in the conversion process, leading and coordinating the views of UK stakeholders to inform the international position and providing comments throughout the drafting and production stages. The parallel contributions LGC has been making in writing, editing and commenting on the revisions to ISO Guide 35 have also informed the development of this new standard.

The new standard (ISO17034 – General requirements for the competence of reference material producers) was published at the beginning of this month (01 November 2016) and represents a global consensus for reference material production. It will benefit the UK through increased acceptance of our reference materials overseas.

The degree of input into the production and revision of the ISO Guides for reference material production demonstrates the level of impact LGC has in its role as the UK National Measurement Laboratory and Designated Institute for chemical and bio-measurement on the best practise in the field, maintaining the position of UK reference material producers at a global level.

 

LGC is accredited to Guide 34 as a Reference Material Producer.

All our materials are available from LGC Standards. For further information please contact uksales@lgcstandards.com

 

LGC, the UK National Measurement Laboratory and Designated Institute for chemical and bio-measurement

 

Oct 14

Cell manufacturing: standardising the future of medicine

Today, on World Standards Day, we consider the need for standardisation in regenerative and personalised medicine to support healthcare developments and ensure the future of medicine arrives early.

m-tissue-cell-biology-culture-flasks-istock_000006300680mediumCell therapies, where living cells are transplanted into a patient, have significant potential to treat and change the course of diseases currently unaffected by existing medicines.

Cell therapies are being investigated for health issues such as prostate cancer, stroke, paralysis, loss of eyesight, Alzheimer’s and diabetes and the market is expected to grow to £5-10 billion by 2025. The UK is a world leader in this field and hundreds of millions of pounds are being invested in translating these therapies from a research environment into effective clinical applications, with the first cell-based therapies reaching clinical trials and the first products emerging onto the market.

Due to the complex and non-uniform nature of cell populations, developing standardised approaches for the bioprocessing of cells is crucial. This will ensure cell therapy products are comparable throughout the manufacturing process and maintain product quality and safety on any changes in manufacturing.

As the UK National Measurement Laboratory and Designated Institute for chemical and bio-measurement, LGC plays a significant role in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC 276 Biotechnology) that is developing best practice guides and standards for bioprocessing and cell characterisation, leading the UK Delegation.

These guides and standards will improve the quality control and hence safety of cell-based products. They will support a more rapid progression of cell based therapies to the market place and make the future of medicine a reality for patients.

worldstandardsday2016_poster_midres-222x300Standards for cell characterisation and bioprocessing

LGC is involved in developing the following standards:

ISO 20391-1: Biotechnology – Cell Counting – Part 1: General guidance on cell counting methods

ISO 20391-2: Biotechnology – Cell Counting – Part 2: Experimental design and statistical analysis to quantify counting method performance

ISO TS 20399-3: Raw materials control for bioprocessing – Part 3: Best practice guide for developers

Manufacturing standardisation publications

Comparability, manufacturing, characterisation and controls. White Paper (2016) Regen Med. 11(5)483-492. DOI:10.2217/rme-2016-0053

 

 

 

LGC, the UK National Measurement Laboratory and Designated Institute for chemical and bio-measurement

Sep 21

Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis: the need for speed

Every three seconds there is a new case of dementia somewhere in the world.

Dementia is the broad term for brain disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion, and is a debilitating and currently incurable condition that affects 10.5 million people in Europe and over 46 million people globally. With an aging population this figure is set to rise to over 130 million by 2050.

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which represents about 70 % of all cases. To help patients access the most effective treatments and sources of support, early diagnosis is crucial. However, recent studies suggest only half of people with Alzheimer’s have been formally diagnosed and these cases are often only identified in the advanced stages through highly invasive tests such as lumbar punctures.

The key reasons for this are the lack of accuracy involved in the measurement of biomarkers currently used to indicate Alzheimer’s disease and the absence of alternative clinically-approved and non-invasive tools to diagnose and monitor disease progression.

In our role as the National Measurement Laboratory and Designated Institute for chemical and bio-measurement, scientists at LGC have recently started work on two European metrology projects that aim to address these critical measurement needs.

EMPIR_neurometNeuroMET (led by LGC) is a multidisciplinary project which combines the diverse expertise of a number of National Measurement Institutes (NMIs) together with clinicians and academics. This project aims to overcome the measurement challenges currently constraining clinical innovation and uptake in neurodegenerative disease diagnosis and treatment. It will challenge the performance of a number of non-invasive/minimally invasive approaches for early diagnostic and drug therapeutic monitoring, such as magnetic resonance imaging and blood analysis. Within Neuromet reference methods for protein biomarkers will be developed and their utility in protein standardisation of clinical measurements will be addressed. Finally, the application of novel statistical approaches to integrate clinical analytical and assessment data will enable for the first time the development of validated person centred outcome measures. By working directly with clinicians, the tools and protocols developed will be ready for direct implementation in partnering hospital laboratories and back into the clinic.

EMPIR_remindRecent studies strongly suggest that metal ions such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), or aluminium (Al) are directly or indirectly involved in the development of Alzheimer’s. In collaboration with European NMIs, clinicians and academics, ReMIND (in which LGC is a project partner) aims to understand the role of metals and metal containing bio-molecules in Alzheimer’s development. This project will develop reference measurement procedures to provide measurement comparability between laboratories for established and potential biomarkers in cerebral spinal fluid, plasma and brain tissue using high accuracy inorganic mass spectrometry and Raman spectrometry approaches. This work will support reliable, comparable measurements in current diagnostic tests, enable extended studies into the uptake, metabolism and transport of metals to the brain to be performed, and further the development of population-based screening through blood testing.

The research developed under these two projects will support the development of earlier and more accurate methods for the diagnosis and monitoring of Alzheimer’s disease. This will improve the quality of life both for those affected and their families and ultimately reduce the significant global economic burden of Alzheimer’s care, estimated to be over US$1 trillion by 2018.

To find out more about these projects, contact the NMS Helpdesk.

Find out more about other European projects LGC is involved with.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma. #RememberMe #WAM

#chembiomeasurement

 

Sep 08

How certain can you be: the need for measurement uncertainty

Thousands of routine measurements are made each day. These measurements vary from clinicians making medical diagnoses, to providing evidence to protect our borders, to safeguarding the quality of our water. However, to have a real understanding of the value of any of these measurements you need to know both its quantity and its quality, i.e. how good the measurement really is and can you trust it?

This is demonstrated through the measurement uncertainty associated with each measurement.

Whenever a measurement is made there will always be some level of uncertainty or doubt about the result obtained. This is unavoidable and not due to mistakes in the application of the measurement method, but to the fact that all measurements are subject to variable factors which will contribute to the uncertainty in the result.

For example, when asked how long it takes to get home from work, you might say ‘about 45 minutes’. The ‘about’ indicates that you know the answer is not exactly 45 min – the true answer may lie anywhere between 40 and 50 minutes and depends on the traffic, the weather and a host of other factors. The range associated with the measurement (±5 minutes in this case) is the measurement uncertainty.

Measurement uncertainty allows individual measurement results to be meaningfully compared, for example to see whether a clinical limit has been exceeded or whether results produced before and after a drug intervention are genuinely different. In some cases, such as a quick screening test, a large measurement uncertainty may be acceptable but in others, for example monitoring the amount of a chemotherapy drug present in the body, a small measurement uncertainty is necessary. The impact on human health, the environment and the economy can be significant if measurement uncertainty is not sufficiently accounted for.

mu_thumbnail-of-flyer-1Recently clinical laboratories in the UK adopted the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) standard 15189 (Medical laboratories – Requirements for quality and competence) which stipulates that measurement uncertainty is to be calculated for each clinical assay.

As the UK National Measurement Laboratory and Designated Institute for chemical and bio-measurement, we have considerable expertise in this field, and have been a leading exponent of calculating, and importantly reporting, measurement uncertainty for all quantitative measurement for many years. In this role we are providing support for clinical laboratories and informing the clinical community of the fundamentals of measurement uncertainty and will be running a specific training course in November to address this challenging topic.

 

If you have any further questions about measurement uncertainty or any of the courses, presentations or guides below please contact us.

 

Training courses

Measurement uncertainty for clinical testing laboratories, specific one-off training event for laboratory analysts and quality managers seeking accreditation to ISO 15189, 2 November 2016

Evaluating measurement uncertainty for chemical testing laboratories, scheduled training course on measurement uncertainty training in line with ISO principles, 12 October 2016

Find further information on LGC training courses on our website or contact us directly.

 

Upcoming presentations

BMSS Introduction to Mass Spectrometry Short Course, Eastbourne, UK, An introduction to small molecule quantitation, Chris Mussell, 13 September 2016 – this will contain a short section on measurement uncertainty

WADA-BIPM Symposium: Standards and Metrology for Anti-Doping Analysis, BIPM, Paris, France, “Bottom up” (GUM) approach to MU assignment for organic analytes, Chris Mussell, 28-29 September 2016

Waters UK Clinical Users Meeting, British Library, UK, Eschewing Obfuscation – Measurement Uncertainty & Mass Spectrometry, Chris Mussell, 19 October 2016

Advances in Clinical Analysis 2016, Chromatographic Society meeting, Burlington House, London, Measurement Uncertainty & Mass Spectrometry, Chris Mussell, 30 November 2016

 

Guides and webinars

Mass spectrometry and measurement uncertainty, Chris Mussell & Simon Cowen, webinar outlining basic concepts and approaches to measurement uncertainty estimation with examples

Evaluating measurement uncertainty in clinical chemistry, guide produced by LGC under the National Measurment System (NMS) that outlines ‘top-down’ approaches to uncertainty demonstrated by clinical analysis case studies

Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement, guide produced by the International Bureau for Weights and Measures (BIPM)

Jul 29

Three peaks challenge update

3peaksThis year we’re raising funds for our corporate charity, MND (Motor Neurone Disease) Association, whose vision is a world free from MND.

While not quite the ice bucket challenge seen in the news this week, in one week’s time some of our team at LGC will be completing their own fundraising event. Fourteen of LGC’S Forensics & Security team are taking part in a Three Peaks Challenge, in which they will be visiting Ben Nevis (Scotland), Scafell Peak (England) and Snowdon (Wales) in 24 hours!

Jon Yeung, MD of LGC Forensics & Security shares the team’s update on their training and preparation for the upcoming challenge.

“There’s just over a week to go until the Forensics & Security Leadership Team embark on their Three Peaks Challenge!

Training (for some) is in full flow with one of the team scaling all three peaks in the lead up to the main event…a pretty impressive way to break in those new walking boots!

The logistics team have completed their preparations with vehicles hired and provisions to support a dozen hungry walkers procured. There are a lot of high energy snacks (Informed-Sport accredited, of course!) to help with refuelling and pot noodles seem to have made their way into the shopping basket for some reason too…

Mike Webster, HR Leader for Forensics & Security is leading the playlist development for the long road trips between mountains so it promises to be a weekend of New Romantics and 70s Rock – synths and seven minute guitar solos at the ready!

Thanks to everyone who has sponsored us so far – your generosity has been amazing and will help keep us going on the long climbs to come.”

 

To find out more, please visit the charity pages on our website. To donate please visit the justgiving page. Thanks.

Jul 25

Fromelles: The spirit lives

Fromelles 100The Battle of Fromelles commenced on 19 July 1916, 19 days after the opening of the Somme campaign on the Western Front. It is a day and a place that is marked by a tragic sacrifice as this day is the bloodiest day of battle in  Australia’s military history.

The 5th Australian Division had arrived in France in late June 1916; it was a new Division, formed less than 6 months previously with less than a third of the personnel having had fighting experience at Gallipoli. The battle was meant to be a diversion, to keep German reserves at Fromelles, away from the Somme. The British 61st Division were to make the assault with the Australian 5th Division, however that battle did not go as planned and by the time they had reached half way through no-man’s land many of the battalions had become separated under artillery and heavy machine-gun fire, leaving isolated groups. Some British and Australian troops broke into enemy trenches and continued with their objectives, but by night fall without support and in danger of being cut off they had to retire back to their own lines.

Hundreds of dead and wounded soldiers were left behind while hundreds more had no choice but to surrender. More than 5,500 Australian and 1,500 British soldiers were casualties at Fromelles, while the Germans suffered approximately 1,000 losses.  The Battle had no impact on the Somme where fighting continued. The impact of the battle in Australia was immense. More lives had been lost in this battle compared to weeks of fighting at Gallipoli.

 

LGC has played a significant role in the identification of soldiers  who died at this battle a century ago.

Since 2009 scientists at LGC have assisted the Australian and UK Ministry of Defence in examining – with forensic archaeologists, anthropologists, genealogists, and military historians – the remains of 250 soldiers that were found at a mass grave at Pheasant Wood, a small copse area on the outskirts of the small village of Fromelles.

It was in 2009 that I first worked with Oxford Archaeology, who were working in the mass graves, to provide them with DNA support and strategy sampling methods. A temporary laboratory facility was set up and specific samples were sent to our DNA testing laboratory in Teddington for DNA item examination and processing. Y chromosome DNA testing and mitochondrial DNA testing were carried out on all 250 sets of remains as standard DNA analysis would have been insufficient for identification purposes. The descendants of these soldiers who have been tracked down – and continue to come forward – across the globe are mainly distantly related as cousins, great nephews and nieces. The long task of sending DNA sampling kits across the world, testing and carrying out the complex comparisons has allowed us to provide evidence to assist in the identification of 150 of the 250 soldiers from the Pheasant Wood mass grave. The Australian authorities continue to search for new relatives to come forward and our DNA database continues to grow year on year.

 

The first Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery to be built in more than 50 years was opened at Fromelles in 2010 where all 250 soldiers were buried with full military honours. I have been privileged to attend this ceremony in 2010, 2014 and again this year, on invitation by the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs, to commemorate and honour their sacrifice in the most tragic of times.

On Tuesday 19 July, I attended the headstone commemoration with three colleagues who have been working with me on this project and with some previous LGC colleagues and Oxford Archaeology,  who feel like I do that this identification programme has a significant place in our hearts.

Fromelles is part of our daily vocabulary. The service this year was televised live across the globe. Attendees included the Minister of Veteran Affairs for Australia, Dan Tehan, the Governor of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, Mayor of Fromelles & Albert, in addition to family members able  of the six soldiers identified this year as well as previously identified soldiers family descendants.

The hottest day of the year, the atmosphere was poignant, the voices of the Birralee Choir of Brisbane, Queensland and the Australian Army Band setting the scene for a moving and heartfelt service… It is hard to describe the feeling when you hear the name of each soldier who has been identified and hear about their life story being read aloud while the family members make their way with a military escort to see for the very first time their name inscribed on a Portland stone headstone, hopefully providing some solace for the family knowing that their loved one has a final resting place recognised. “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon stanzas 3 & 4 was read before the last post and minute’s silence. Four large grandstands full of family, friends, and invited dignitaries sang in full voice the Marseillaise and Advance Australia Fair. Some had dressed in historical outfits, others in full military regalia, while others sat in silence, remembering the fallen soldiers. Indigenous flowers and wreaths were laid by representatives of all the armed services and members of the different divisions of the Commonwealth.

 

It was a privilege to attend and walk through the cemetery that I have become so familiar with, paying my respects and talking to the families, knowing that we have been able to be part of this significant occasion and historical event. John Symeon, Lead Analyst, DNA, LGC, who also attended the ceremony this year, commented, “It was an honour to attend this ceremony and see first-hand the result of our hard work and the impact this has on the lives of these Australian families”.

Grave sites across the Western Front and elsewhere across the globe continue to be found. Walking through a field at Fromelles, you are never far away from the impact the Great War of 1914-1918 has left. The German concrete fort nearby is still visible, unexploded shells are still located in nearby fields and mortar shell can be seen in the farmers fields as you walk through them.

Our commitment to this project continues and we will remember them . Lest We Forget.

 

By Victoria Moore, DNA Sector Manager, LGC

Jul 08

Management team put best foot forward for charity

IMG_0558On 6 and 7 August, 14 members of LGC’s Forensics & Security leadership team are undertaking the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for The Motor Neurone Disease Association, this year’s chosen corporate charity.

The Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland, often within 24 hours.

Jon Yeung, event organiser and Managing Director of the division, said, “I’m looking forward to the challenge! Some of us are happier to have been designated drivers rather than walkers – and some of us are looking forward to the relaxation afterwards! But we’ve started training already and have made sure that the groups include people with knowledge of each peak, just in case we get separated. I know that some of the team have never even owned walking boots so we have a range of fitness levels and experience but it should be fun – at least to look back on and help raise some money for MND Association.”

The three mountains in the challenge are:

Snowdon, in Wales (1085m)

Scafell Pike, in England (978m)

Ben Nevis, in Scotland (1345m)

Interestingly, it is a popular misconception that the three mountains in question are the three highest in Britain — in fact, over one hundred peaks in Scotland are higher than Scafell Pike, and 56 higher than Snowdon…

The MND Association’s vision is ’A world free from MND’. The charity funds and promotes global research that will revolutionise understanding and treatments and bring us closer to a cure. Its patron is Professor Stephen Hawking. MND, also commonly known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease in the USA, is a fatal, rapidly progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. MND can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk, swallow and eventually breathe. One third of people with MND lose their life within a year and more than half die within two years of diagnosis. It is a swiftly progressive neurological disease that affects over 400,000 of the world’s population and kills over 100,000 every year.

 

To find out more, please visit the charity pages on our website. To donate please visit the justgiving page. Thanks.

Jul 01

Discover what inorganic mass spectrometry can do

Inorganic mass spectrometry has a wide range of potential applications, from reference material development to nanoparticle analysis or pharmaceutical testing, as will be showcased by LGC scientists at the 18th Biennial National Atomic Spectroscopy Symposium (BNASS) on 4 to 6 July 2016.

BNASS is the biennial meeting of the RSC Atomic Spectroscopy Group and provides a forum to encourage the exchange of ideas and knowledge in analytical atomic spectroscopy. The conference has been running for over 30 years and has an international reputation for both the quality of the science presented and the unique style of the symposium. Our scientists will be giving 2 presentations and presenting 3 posters, details of which can be found below.

Heidi Goenaga-Infante working in the lab

Keynote lecture: ICP-MS hyphenations for the characterisation of nanomaterials: from size-based speciation to counting, Heidi Goenaga-Infante (pictured, Session: Single particle/nano particle applications, 6 July)

Nanomaterials are being used in an ever-growing number of products (currently over 1300) but their potential impact on human health and the environment is not yet well understood. To support and drive legislation there is a need for appropriate measurement capabilities to ensure their safety and protect consumer health. This keynote lecture will cover the role of inorganic mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and hyphenated technologies (FFF) for the characterisation of nanomaterials.

 

Lecture: Developing reference methods and certified reference materials for challenging biological samples – a whole blood material to support Cr and Co analysis for metal-on-metal hip replacement patients, Sarah Hill (Session: Bio-analytical applications, 5 July)

A fundamental part of LGC’s role as the UK’s designated measurement institute for chemical and biological measurements is the production of reference materials. In this talk the challenges associated with method development and production of a whole blood certified reference material (CRM) for cobalt (Co) and chromium (Cr) using inorganic mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) will be discussed. This Co/Cr CRM, to be released later in 2016, will support hospitals in monitoring levels of metal ions in the blood stream of metal-on-metal hip replacement patients to ensure accurate and early diagnosis of joint failure.

 

Posters to look out for:

Elemental impurities testing to ICH Q3D: Practical challenges

Recent European regulation changes require the testing of all new pharmaceutical drug products and excipients for metal impurities (ICH Q3D, effective from this month) with similar legislation coming in to force in the USA next year (USP 232/233). Sarah James will present a poster on our specialist capabilities and services in this area and you can find out more on our website.

LA-ICP-MS elemental bio-imaging: double IDMS quantification and uncertainty estimation

The accumulation of iron in the brain is associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s. David Douglas will present the first potential reference method for determining iron in brain tissue. This work will ultimately provide validation for non-invasive imaging techniques such as MRI and PET scans. This will enable earlier disease diagnosis, leading to quicker administration of drugs to slow disease progression and an overall improvement in patient care. Read our recent JAAS paper to find out more.

The use of QQQ-ICPMS technology for interference-free measurement of 129-I: Improving selectivity for reference value assignment using isotope dilution analysis

Iodine is an essential element naturally found in some foods and is of particular importance for pregnant women and infants as it plays a critical role in brain development. Sarah Hill will present the use of a novel inorganic mass spectrometry technique (QQQ-ICP-MS) to accurately quantify iodine in infant formula milk, a method suitable for the certification of reference materials.

Strategies for size-specific isotope dilution quantification of silica nanoparticles using FFF-ICP-MS

To support the characterisation of nanoparticles, there is a need for the development of reference methods and materials. Susana Nunez will present a novel approach to accurately quantify silicon nanoparticles in a complex sample using a hyphenated inorganic mass spectrometry technique (FFF-ICP-MS). This approach has potential for the characterisation of nanoparticle reference materials in the future.

 

 

For further information on when the Co/Cr CRM will be available, and for other reference material information, please contact our sales team.

LGC, the UK’s Designated Measurement Institute for chemical and bio-measurement

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