food sample preparation“Even the most challenging sample preparation is easy if you are careful and competent, understand how it works and why you are doing it,” said my analytical chemistry teacher many moons ago. This statement rings true today, just as it did when I started working in a laboratory; the only difference is that the technology has improved, and much more sophisticated automation is available.

Nearly all food samples require some type of sample preparation (link to product page) before analysis. Whether it’s a simple manual procedure or an automated technique, it really can pay huge dividends to heed my teacher’s wise words – namely it can save you lots of time and improve the precision and accuracy of your final result.

 

QuEChERS and Accelerated Solvent Extraction

Let’s take the example of pesticide residue analysis (link to community page). This can be a challenging area of food analysis, and the sample preparation step is absolutely key. Researching this topic for my post, I came across two wonderful short whiteboard videos dedicated to two completely different sample preparation techniques that beautifully cover the “how’s” and “why’s” of sample preparation.

The first whiteboard is an introduction to the QuEChERS (link to product page) sample preparation technique, which is predominately used for extraction of pesticides and other contaminants from food samples, click here or on the whiteboard to watch and learn more.

 

 

The second whiteboard relates to an automated extraction technique (link to product page) which is one of the fastest, safest and easiest techniques available for extracting analytes out of solid and semi-solid samples.
Click here or on the whiteboard to learn more.

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The accelerated solvent extraction technique is a proven time, solvent, and money-saving tool used in many food testing laboratories.
One of my favourite resources that highlights the flexibility of the system is Technical Note 210 (link to downloadable pdf), which discusses extraction and selective clean-up for difficult food matrices. The technical note demonstrates how the flow-through design of the ASE system allows the system to perform extractions in combination with in-line cleanup, eliminating post-extraction cleanup steps.

 

Additional Resources

Check out our Food Community (link to community page), a wonderful resource dedicated to our Food and Beverage customers, featuring the latest on-demand webinars, videos, application notes, and more.

 

Is sample preparation for food samples of interest to your laboratory? If so, I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences.