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Brooks Applied Remains Open

Brooks Applied Remains Open

COVID-19 and Brooks Applied LabsBrooks Applied Labs provides testing services that are essential to continuing to protect public health, the environment, and food safety during this unprecedented time. We are committed to safeguarding our community and the health and safety of our dedicated employees is of the utmost importance.

We are open for business and continue to offer nearly all of our full list of laboratory services. Approximately half of our staff are working remotely and only those scientists critical to supporting laboratory operations are working on-site. Available lab staff are working in two non-overlapping shifts, and all common areas and laboratory spaces are professionally sanitized between shifts.

During this time, we may have a slightly reduced workforce, which may have an impact on turnaround times (TAT); however, we do not anticipate this impact to be significant at this time. We also may not be able to offer R&D services or non-routine services on a typical TAT. Our shipping and receiving department will no longer be open to accept deliveries on Saturdays until further notice.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding on-going projects, please contact your BAL Project Manager. If you have any questions about upcoming projects, please contact your BAL Technical Services representative. Contact information for all of our staff can be found here.

With everyone’s diligence we can ensure that essential laboratory services will continue uninterrupted as we all do our part to protect the community and slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How is COVID-19 Impacting Brooks Applied Labs?

How is COVID-19 Impacting Brooks Applied Labs?

COVID-19 and Brooks Applied LabsBrooks Applied Labs currently remains open and all regular business operations are proceeding as close to normal as possible. At this point, we do not anticipate any delays in deliverables. BAL takes the safety of our staff seriously and we are following guidance on preventative measures from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from Public Health Seattle & King County with regard to COVID-19. This includes directing most of our client-facing and administrative staff to work from home and ensuring adequate social distancing for the lab staff that do not have that option. We have the technology in place to keep operations running smoothly with a high percentage of remote workers still connected via call forwarding and remote worker phones. So far, BAL is weathering being at the epicenter of this hurricane quite well and our clients can count on us to continue to be there to meet their needs for the foreseeable future.

Got Lyophilization?

Got Lyophilization?

Freeze dried fish powderBAL now offers tissue sample lyophilization! What’s that? Lyophilization is another term for freeze drying, and it involves rapidly freezing the sample then subjecting it to high vacuum which removes ice by sublimation. Lyophilization can now be requested as an additional service for biological samples analyzed for trace metals at BAL. Including lyophilization in the sample preparation process has many potential advantages for data quality, including improved homogenization, which not only improves the precision of the results, but also allows for more accurate results on a limited quantity of mass. BAL has a long history of not just offering a service but becoming experts in how to best utilize a service to obtain the highest quality data possible. Keep an eye out for more information as we investigate the intricacies that occur when lyophilization meets metals speciation. If you’re interested in discussing how adding lyophilization to your tissues/biota testing project could help improve your data quality, contact us today!

Amy Goodall, New BAL Project Manager

Amy Goodall, New BAL Project Manager

Amy GoodallIn February BAL welcomed Amy Goodall to our Project Management team. Amy has over 15 years of experience in metals analysis as both an ICP-MS analyst and as a project manager for projects that involved specialty trace metals analyses and speciation. Drawing on her extensive expertise and excellent customer service skills, Amy will collaborate with our customers to ensure that results for contracted analytical services are delivered on time and with the exceptional level of quality that our clients have come to expect. In her spare time, Amy enjoys spending time with friends, watching movies, reading, and traveling to new places. We are excited to have Amy join the BAL family!

Concerned About Elemental Selenium?

Concerned About Elemental Selenium?

When evaluating the selenium (Se) speciation at a site, sometimes things don’t add up – that is, the sum of detected Se species might be significantly lower than the associated dissolved Se result.  Incomplete mass balances are often concerning, since they raise questions about what “missing” forms of Se might be present in a sample. Given that certain Se species are known to be more bioaccumulative than others, increasing their potential toxicity, investigating the source of this discrepancy is often warranted. While a low mass balance could be caused by various factors, it often signifies that unanticipated forms of Se are present. The anionic species selenite (Se4+) and selenate (Se6+) predominate in most natural waters, but selenium exists in numerous other molecular forms, including volatile selenides and colloidal elemental Se (Se0). BAL has offered analyses for the volatile dimethylselenide (DMSe) and dimethyldiselenide (DMDSe) for over a decade, but a method for Se0 quantitation has been on our list of research priorities for years.  We’re happy to announce that BAL is now actively working to bring online a new method to support Se0 analysis.

In collaboration with select clients, BAL has been developing a special chromatographic separation method for screening samples for the presence of particulate and Se0Figure 1 contains a chromatogram demonstrating the separation of Se0 from the ionic Se species selenite (Se4+), selenate (Se6+), and selenomethionine (SeMet).

Elemental Selenium Standard Spiked with Ionic Selenium Species

Figure 1. Chromatogram of elemental selenium spiked into a standard containing other selenium species

When the selenium speciation analysis of treated industrial wastewater shows a poor mass balance between dissolved selenium and sum of selenium species, additional testing for Se0 can reveal the culprit, as demonstrated in Figure 2. This method can serve as another tool for evaluating the performance of biological treatment systems for selenium. While such systems are generally designed to remove produced Se0 prior to discharge, those processes are not always completely effective. With parts-per-trillion (ppt) level detection limits, monitoring for Se0 can also help identify if natural attenuation is occurring in contaminated environments.

Effluent Sample

Figure 2. Chromatogram demonstrating the separation of elemental selenium from selenate in an industrial effluent sample.

Additional research currently underway at BAL is focusing on methods for characterizing the particle size distribution of the Se0 in samples using single particle-ICP-MS analysis.  An example size distribution is presented in Figure 3.  This type of information is usually accompanied with particle concentration (particles/L) and is expected to aid in studying the fate, transport, settleability, and transformations of nanoparticulate Se0 in the environment.

Particle Size Distribution

Figure 3. Particle size distribution of elemental selenium nanoparticles (NP-Se0) in a standard. The mean particle size is 48 nm.

These new methods are further evidence of BAL’s commitment to offering the most comprehensive speciation analysis services to address our client’s analytical needs. If you or your colleagues are interested in receiving updates as we continue to refine these methods, please use the form below to contact us!

Elemental Se Analysis Inquiry

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Micronutrients: An Important Consideration for Biopharmaceutical Quality

Micronutrients: An Important Consideration for Biopharmaceutical Quality

In the biopharmaceutical industry, optimizing bioreactor cellular health and titer quality requires accounting for micronutrients as well as contaminants; too little or too much can have a negative impact. Without meticulous control of raw materials and media components, a small deviation in micronutrients can lead to an out-of-specification (OOS) event, low titer quality, and a slow-down or halt of drug production. Quality aspects to support all biopharmaceutical product lines concerning optimizing micronutrients and controlling contaminants can be complex, but Brooks Applied Labs is here to help. Watch this fun and informative video to learn more!