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Articles by Section - Feature: In the Lab
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Departments: Detecting Polycylic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Food
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the largest in U.S. history, has raised awareness of a food safety issue, namely contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In the future, analytical testing for PAHs in fish, crustaceans, and bivalves will undoubtedly become a routine procedure for many laboratories. PAH exposure, through either environmental pollution or contaminated foodstuffs, and its effects on human health have been the topic of many scientific studies. The recent oil spill again focuses...
Departments: ICP-MS for Detecting Heavy Metals in Foodstuffs
Heavy metals can be toxic for humans when they are not metabolized by the body and accumulate in the soft tissues. Depending on the heavy metal in question, toxicity can occur at levels just above naturally occurring background levels, meaning that consumption of food with a high heavy metal concentration can cause acute or chronic poisoning.
Departments: Sweet Science
Throughout history, people have used honey to sweeten and add flavor. Although its sweetness is similar to that of granulated sugar, honey has a distinctive flavor that is largely determined by the flower type from which the nectar is gathered.
Departments: Determination of Soluble Vitamins in Beverages
Functional beverages are vitamin-enhanced waters that are popular with consumers because of convenience, perceived health benefits, and improved flavor over tap water. These beverages, enriched with vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and vitamins A and E, are promoted as offering the benefits of increased energy from B vitamins and antioxidant value from vitamins A, C, and E. Sales of these beverages are expected to increase to 4.4 billion liters per year by 2011.
Departments: Detect Melamine With ELISA Assays
With common industrial uses, melamine is frequently mixed with formaldehyde to produce melamine-formaldehyde resin, a type of plastic known for its flame retardant properties. Used in the manufacture of countertops, dry-erase boards, laminates, glues, adhesives, paper and textiles, melamine has more recently been identified in some food products. Investigations have identified raw materials suppliers who have been illegally adding this nitrogen-rich chemical to food sources in order to increase its...
Departments: Moisture Content Analysis
Like many products, nuts have a moisture content (MC) “sweet spot” where they’re dry enough to meet customer quality specs but not so dry that they break during shipment. To check quality reliably as the nuts are processed, shipped, stored, and used as ingredients, manufacturers need a moisture method that is…
Departments: Smaller, Stronger, Faster Labs
In these non-Dickensian times, the availability of food is not as much of an issue as concerns about food safety. Food is pouring in from all over the world, but ensuring its safety is a complex task. Food safety is inherently bound up in issues related to time, such as how long it takes to detect a problem or contaminant. And because time is money, there’s money to be made—or granted—in exploring the future of rapid detection.
Departments: Detect Pesticides With Mass Spec
More than once in my marriage—in fact, more than once in the last month—my significant other has presented me with a mysterious substance and asked, “Does this taste funny to you?” I generally decline these invitations to explore the unknown, not because I lack the courage, though that is true, but as someone with a science background, I feel I lack the proper instrumentation.
Departments: Routine, Reliable Mercury Screeing
Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in air, water and soil. It exists in three different forms, elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Coal-burning power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions to the air caused by humans in the United States, accounting for more than 40% of all domestic anthropogenic mercury emissions.1 Additional mercury emission sources include the burning of hazardous waste, chlorine production, mercury product...
Departments: Accurate Testing of Complicated Food Matrices
Worldwide food safety concerns have risen dramatically as the number of food contamination incidents and product recalls has increased. Accurately monitoring contaminant levels in food and agricultural products is essential to assure the safety of the food supply and to manage human health risks.