Romer Labs solutions centre for allergen testing

Romer Labs, a  provider of diagnostic solutions for the agricultural, food and feed industries, is announcing the opening its APAC Solutions Centre in Singapore. The centre extends the company’s capabilities in three important areas: analytical services, technical support and customer training programs.

The APAC Solutions Centre features new facilities for food allergen testing. Romer Labs can now serve the region with analytical services that cover gluten and the broadest range of allergenic analytes on the market. The Centre also brings augmented mycotoxin testing methods with screening services such as Multi-Mycotoxin Analysis 50+, which gives specific information on any of more than 50 mycotoxins in a sample in one report.

To complement these new capabilities, the Centre also provides enhanced technical support: sample validation, troubleshooting and insight into best practices are  available. Romer Labs experts provide advice to help customers remain productive and compliant with local and international regulations.

The APAC Solutions Centre is also introducing a new service to the region: customised training programs. Workshops, webinars and personalised instruction are all designed to adapt to how, where and how often customers test. Romer Labs issues training certificates and other documentation that may be necessary for audits and accreditations.

Yong Wee Liau, managing director, Romer Labs APAC: “For years, we have prided ourselves on being an extension of our customers’ lab. With the Romer Labs APAC Solutions Centre, we aim to go beyond that by being with our customers every step of the way. The new Centre has been designed with their needs in mind to help them meet their food and feed safety goals.”

New sensors helping with our food supply

Industrialisation has left much of the urban environment contaminated with a variety of heavy metals, chemicals and pesticide residue. Now, research by a team from Macquarie University has produced a series of maps that plot the concentrations of metal pollutants across cities like Sydney and Darwin, and towns such as Mount Isa and Port Pirie.

 
The Director of the Macquarie team is Professor Mark Taylor, an academic and former Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Senior researcher, Marek Rouillon, and the rest of the group, investigate environmental pollution and risks to human health from aerosols, dusts, sediments, soil and water. The team works in a range of locations across Australia, including Broken Hill, Mount Isa, Newcastle, Port Pirie, Sydney and Townsville.
 

Results of the survey indicate the spread of contamination in many ways reflected the growth of major cities, with the highest concentrations in older suburbs. The contaminant of most concern across Sydney backyards is lead. According to Professor Taylor, it would be expected that there would be contamination in a major city. “We live in an industrial environment,” he said, adding that, “We have used lead-based petrol and paint for most of the 20th Century.”
 

One technique that is key to the work being conducted by the Macquarie team is X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) analysis for measuring levels of contaminant metals. Simple screening for toxic metals is performed by placing an analyser, such as the Delta Premium from Olympus directly onto soil or dust. The analyser provides detection of metals for site characterisation, contamination tracking, remediation, monitoring, and property evaluations.
 

Andrew Saliba, Regional Sales Specialist with Olympus, said the latest portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analysers, such as the Delta Premium, have been developed specifically for complete environmental investigations of metal contaminants in a wide range of industrial and domestic materials. The high-power, high-performance, incredibly rugged Delta allows in-situ analysis in a wide range of harsh environments from remote mining and exploration sites to backyards in major urban centres.
  

According to Saliba, the traditional use of pXRF has been for alloy identification, grading ore, mineral exploration, metallurgy and mine site remediation. “The technology has been refined and is now often used by environmental consultancies specialising in contaminated land remediation and recycling companies needing to determine what materials are in waste products,” he said.
 

Macquarie researcher Marek Rouillon has been working to evaluate the reliability and repeatability of XRF analysis on environmental samples. Professor Taylor and Rouillon regularly present their findings at seminars, outlining the spread of heavy metal contamination in suburban gardens in addition to explaining the application and relevance of the pXRF instrument for this project.
 

Typical 'natural' or 'background' concentrations of lead for the Sydney region are in the range 20 – 30 mg/kg or parts per million (ppm). However, due to the intense use of lead containing products, much of Greater Sydney has been contaminated with the metal. Their results indicate Sydney residences have a mean soil lead concentration of 220 mg/kg, which is approximately 10 times the typical natural background for Sydney's soils and rocks.
 

In conjunction with the contamination mapping, Macquarie researchers also run the community orientated VegeSafe program. This is the largest study of its kind in the country and has provided information about metal contamination levels to more than 500 households across Sydney, and over 1000 households across Australia.
 

VegeSafe seeks to inform people about metals and metalloids in their garden soils and provides a free sampling program for domestic and community garden soils. Participants submit soil samples from private or community gardens and receive a formal report and links to information and advice about "what to do next" if the soils contain elevated concentrations of metals and metalloids. “The VegeSafe motto is 'Carry on Gardening'," Professor Taylor said, “because this is exactly what we want people to do knowing that their soils are metal free as is the produce from their gardens.”
 

According to Rouillon, the simplest mitigation technique for householders would be to cover the contaminated soil with either grass or mulch, to effectively reduce the potential generation of dust if the soil is dry and gets picked up by wind.
 

In contaminated suburbs where vegetables will be grown, the Macquarie team recommends growing produce in above ground Vegetable plots, using fresh clean topsoil. “Typically, undisturbed soil in urban areas accumulates contaminants over long periods of time and should be avoided when growing home produce” Rouillon stated.
 

“Our recommendations are determined by different scenarios and contaminant concentrations,” Rouillon said. “VegeSafe provides specific recommendations and advice to a gardener for their particular situation.”
 

 

Colloidal suspension tester for food labs

Anton Paar has launched the SurPASS 3 that determines the zeta potential at the surface of a macroscopic solid in contact with an aqueous solution. 

The instrument design does not contain any moving parts, unnecessary tubing or cables, which may be subject to measuring artifacts. SurPASS 3 keeps the promise of a real plug-and-measure instrument: simply plug in the measuring cell and hit the START button.

The enhanced SurPASS 3 principle gives access to zeta potential data in less than three minutes. The high time resolution for data acquisition and the extremely sensitive measurement of streaming potential improve the reliability and reproducibility of zeta potential even in the range below 3mV.

The operating software of SurPASS 3 offers the selection of single zeta potential data, the analysis of the surface isoelectric point, or a full pH scan. 

Independent of sample geometry, size and origin, SurPASS 3 determines reliable and reproducible zeta potential values. The measuring cell in use is automatically detected by the SurPASS 3 software.

Together with the enhanced measuring principle of SurPASS 3, the software facilitates the fastest route to the zeta potential of macroscopic solids.

Thermogravimetric Analyser

Product Name: TGA 8000

Product Manufacturer: PerkinElmer

Launch date: 2015

Ingredients: Thermogravimetric Analyser

Brand Website: https://www.perkinelmer.com/tga8000

Describe the product: Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) is a technique which measures the change in mass of a sample as it is heated, cooled or held at a constant temperature in a controlled atmosphere. TGA can be used for determining decomposition and thermal stability, identifying and quantifying components, measuring and identifying moisture/solvent evolution, and evaluating and modeling reaction kinetics. 

The TGA 8000 analyser is controlled by PerkinElmer’s proprietary Pyris software platform, which provides intuitive, user-friendly options for high-sensitivity analysis of thermal data. This instrument also can be easily hyphenated and coupled with FT-IR, MS and GC/MS systems to enable a better understanding of evolved gases. It also features local instrument control and run status monitoring via iPhone or iPad devices so that users can remotely obtain information on analyses as they progress.

The TGA 8000 analyzer can be used for a wide range of applications such as identifying harmful chemicals in soil and identifying and quantitating components in polymers. Other examples of applications include determining leachables that may contaminate a product’s packaging, identifying phthalates in PVC samples, and confirming if products have the exact materials that are promised to consumers.

Halogen Moisture Analyser

Mettler Toledo has launched its newest halogen moisture analyser, the HC103, which measures moisture content in minutes, enabling fast response times for quality control and in-process control. 

A large colour touchscreen, graphical user guidance and real-time drying curve make the HC103 easy to use, even for untrained operators. Whether you work in a busy laboratory or a harsh production environment, the compact design saves space and the robust construction guarantees a long instrument lifetime.

With touchscreen operation and an intuitive user interface, the HC103 is easy to use. Operators can access drying methods directly from the home screen with just 'One Click'. Just add the sample to the weighing pan, tare and press start. 

As the drying program is running, a real-time drying curve is displayed on the screen to provide an overview of the progress. Operators can clearly see if the measurement is on target and are able to intervene quickly in the production process where necessary.

There is no need to manually record the results as the HC103 can generate result reports in the form of PDF or CSV files in addition to standard printouts. These can be conveniently transferred via the RS232 or USB ports to fulfill documentation and traceability requirements. In addition, new drying methods are easily uploaded to the HC103 via the USB port. 

Mettler Toledo provides a collection of validated drying methods for over 100 different samples.

Industry-first wireless pressure gauge

Emerson Process Management has introduced the industry’s first WirelessHART pressure gauge. The Rosemount Wireless Pressure Gauge enables remote collection of field data, keeping operators updated on changing field conditions and improving personnel safety by reducing manual operator rounds and field exposure.

Mechanical gauges are plagued with quality and reliability issues. These issues are commonly associated with overpressure, vibration, corrosion, extreme temperatures, and accidental damage. Additionally, mechanical gauges are unable to communicate a device status.

Emerson’s new pressure gauge uses field-proven piezoresistive sensor technology to deliver reliable pressure readings. With the flexibility to accommodate changing process conditions, the wireless pressure Gauge also gives up to 150X overpressure protection compared to traditional gauges, which provides for a safer field environment by using two layers of process isolation.

Bourdon tube gauges have traditionally been a mainstay for taking pressure readings in the field, but are limited to visual indication of process conditions when an operator is present. Bourdon tubes also use moving parts, which can break or wear over time due to use and vibration, causing inaccurate readings or process to spill. 

The gauge eliminates mechanical common weak points by removing the components that inhibit the device from reporting/displaying pressure and providing up to a 10-year life, which reduces maintenance cost and time. 

The large 125mm gauge face provides easy field visibility.

Pet food & large packages leak / seal tester

SealTick TSE 6089L is an on-demand leak testing unit for pet food and pet care products specifically in large size packages up to 22Kg. 

The Sealtick TSE 6089L is already in use around the world for testing a wide range of food products, and the operation of 6089L is fast, simple and safe. A quantitative result is written into the internal log.  

Logs can be retrieved by connecting via USB, or optional Ethernet, for quality traceability. Different products can be selected on the controller and tested using a product specific test procedure. 

The key benefit of using SealTick leak testers is that they do not stress or inflate the tested package, is a dry and non-destructive solution to cope with a wide range of shapes and sizes of finished goods. 

User requires minimum training to operate this package leak tester. The instrument is switched on only to be connected to air and power, and it is ready to test when the lid is opened. 

Place a package in, close the lid to initiate the test, and within as short as 20 seconds the test is finished and a pass or fail indicator will be lit up to tell the user if there is any leakage on the tested packaging.

The stainless steel construction also makes it ideal for use in a food production environment. 

3-hour Alicyclobacillus test

Alicyclobacillus (ACB) species are bacteria which are resistant to low pH and pasteurisation. They produce off-flavour and aroma compounds that spoil juice products.

Current methods for ACB testing are laborious and require over 7 days to yield definitive results. These limitations make it impossible to address these spoilage organisms in real-time, and can result in facility contamination, product holds, or recall of tainted products.

Invisible Sentinel, a global molecular solutions company, has partnered with Refresco Gerber, an international bottler of juice and soft drinks, to produce and validate a new method for rapid detection of ACB.

The new test, Veriflow ACB, uses novel PCR technology to provide a simple method which yields qualitative and quantitative results in less than 3 hours. The test requires a minimal amount of equipment and hands on time, meaning the test can be easily used on site.

“We are continuously working to provide our clients with the highest quality standards in the industry,” said Andrew Prewer, Raw Materials Technical Manager at Refresco Gerber UK. “We partnered with Invisible Sentinel on Veriflow ACB to improve quality control and maintain product integrity, assuring that packaged products leaving our facilities are of the highest possible taste and freshness.”

Veriflow ACB is available in Australia from Australasian Medical and Scientific Limited.

New verification technology to be used for food exports

DataTrace technology is set to be used for Australian export food & wine authentication, Security & Safety.

DataDot Technology Limited (DDT) says it is pursuing opportunities in the growing export food and wine authentication market through its newly established joint venture with Beston Pacific Group. 

DDT and Beston subsidiary company, Grape Ensembles (GE), have jointly established Brandlok Brand Protection Solutions, and over the next nine months Brandlok will develop labels and other devices to authenticate and provide information on wine, dairy, seafood, health food and meat products to be exported to China, Southeast Asia, the Americas, Europe and Middle East. 

DDT has granted an exclusive 5-year licence of its DataTrace authentication technology to Brandlok for incorporation into the labels and devices to prove authenticity for these exported products so that customers can track and trace the ingredients from paddock to plate and verify for themselves that the products are safe to eat.

Bruce Rathie, Chairman of DDT, said that the Brandlok joint venture and its arrangement with the new company BGFC focused on food exports to China and other markets represents a significant opportunity to capitalise on major concerns regarding food security, safety and counterfeiting in these emerging export markets.  

“We have seen a number of food and other product counterfeiting issues especially in places like China.”

“This technology is a mixture of labels, barcodes and apps that can be used on mobile devices allowing them to check the authenticity of what they are buying,” he said.