SAMPLE PREP IS EASY. SAMPLE PREP IS HARD.
WELL, WHICH IS IT?
Yeah, it’s a trick question. Answer: It’s BOTH.
Greetings, fellow T&T’ers. My name is Lane Yago and I’ve been an analytical chemist/chromatographer for a whole bunch of decades with a sub-specialty in sample prep technology. We’ve got a lot to talk about on this blog and I am honored to be a part of the Terpenes & Testing group of contributors.
We’ve gotta see everything.
As we all know, a lot of time is spent on the analytical instrumentation in your lab. Have to make sure you can see all those pesticides (they keep changing the list, right?). And terpenes. And residual solvents. And of course the beloved cannabinoids. And, for some, heavy metals. Have to make sure your LOD and LOQ are right where they need to be. Sound familiar?
The thing is, once those issues are nailed down, they’re pretty much good to go. Let’s face it: These are machines. They do the same thing over and over.
What is it with varying results?
Cut to the recent New West Summit in Oakland. I’m sitting in the audience of the laboratory testing session. Various cannabis testing labs are represented on a panel and after they each have some time discussing questions posed by the moderator, they open it up for questions. A man from the back of the room (standing room only) speaks up: “I’ve sent the same sample out to different labs – and a few of those labs are represented by you folks on the panel – and I get back very different results. This makes no sense to me. You people are forcing me to send the same sample out to different labs and then average the results. What’s the deal?” Let’s say he wasn’t exactly pleased.
The responses were somewhat defensive (not surprising). Things like “Well, while the results may seem different, they may still be within the standard deviation…”, “Not all samples are the same”…etc etc. So what’s with all the variability?
Variability: The Achilles Heel of Sample Preparation
In this brand new blog series, we’ll review what’s being done in labs around the country and the world in terms of their sample prep. We’ll review the different instruments, consumables, and techniques that are being adopted. We’ll interview different people to get their take on how they minimize variability and maximize throughput while working to keep precision and accuracy within acceptable limits. We’ll talk about what’s new out there to help you achieve the best results possible.