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henomenex has recently launched a trio of Zebron GC columns specially developed for the analysis of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) in food. Identification and measurement of these compounds in food products such as cheese, peanut butter, infant formula, cooking oils and oil-based nutritional supplements is increasingly important in meeting labelling requirements and testing for product adulteration.

The Zebron ZB-FAME leads the new

trio. This stationary phase offers selectivity targeting a 37-compound mix, in a column that’s much shorter than traditional solutions. The shorter column reduces run times to about 11 minutes – a decrease of 75% or more – while still providing Rs values of 1.0 or greater. Its optimised high- cyanopropyl chemistry delivers the required high polarity for the separation of cis/trans FAME isomers and meets the guidelines of AOAC, AOCS and IOC methods. The columns also come with a guarantee based on Phenomenex’s QC testing protocols, where every column is individually QC- tested against the target 37 compounds for FAME analysis. “Cis/trans FAME analysis

has historically been carried out with long columns, which

produce corresponding long run times,” explains Kristen Parnell from Phenomenex. “With our innovative new chemistry, we’ve been able to improve the separations to such a degree that they can be carried out on far shorter columns, saving analysts up to 45 minutes per run.” The new chemistry is stable enough to

withstand temperatures as high as 280˚C, enabling inclusion of column baking steps to remove contaminants traditionally left behind when analysing food samples. Second in the trio is Zebron ZB-88 – a

new GC alternative to other 88-phase columns for the separation of cis/trans isomers. This column is well suited for the analysis of olive and hydrogenated oils. The third new column, Zebron ZB-23,

is a cost-effective alternative to existing 23-phase columns for the separation of cis/ trans isomers in a group of products that includes omega-3 and fish oils.


ne of the world’s foremost research institutes, the UK’s John Innes Centre, has recently been awarded £77.9 million in a series of new strategic programme investments by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Four new strategic research programmes will be funded over the next five years, to deliver fundamental insights into plant and microbial life and to use those insights to address high-profile national and global challenges in agriculture, the environment, and human health and wellbeing:

l A Plant Health programme to tackle crop losses caused by pests, pathogens and poor nutrition, thereby enhancing agricultural productivity and reducing over-reliance on artificial agricultural inputs

l A Molecules from Nature programme to exploit plant and microbial chemical diversity in the search for better drugs, new antimicrobial therapies and foods with enhanced nutrition

l A Designing Future Wheat programme to address the challenge of providing an estimated 60% larger wheat harvest globally by 2050 – developing higher yielding and more resilient varieties of wheat with improved nutrition

l A Genes in the Environment programme to deploy improved understanding of environmental impacts for improved crop productivity and enhanced resilience to a changing climate

These four strategic programmes will be underpinned by core capabilities at the

John Innes Centre, ensuring that its status as one of the world’s strongest plant science research centres is maintained. The potential impact of the new

programmes is significant. For example, some scientists at JIC are discovering new molecules from plants and bacteria that could lead to improved medicines and ways to stem the tide of anti-microbial resistance. Others are working towards a future in which crops are more resistant to heat, drought and disease, thus better equipped to face increased variability in climate extremes and new and re-emerging diseases. Director of JIC, Dale Sanders says, “These

new strategic programmes represent a significant investment in the future of the John Innes Centre and its world-leading scientists. We believe that this ground- breaking scientific effort launched will have a substantial impact on national and global challenges in the years to come.”

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