By Conrad Strjdom – LMS

Clover’s Eugene de Goede and Gideon Jack with Labotec’s Luane vd Merwe.

Attendees were in for a treat on 2 October when a Swiss team from Buchi visited the Labotec offices in Midrand to present a quality control workshop. The workshop focused on quality control in the lab and featured a wealth of information relevant to the food, agricultural and pharmacological laboratory industries. Quality control and verification processes in the lab are extremely important. Even slight variations in process can have significant knock-on effects so it is vital to ensure that controls are in place.

The two presenters from Buchi, Nicolai Kraut and Agnes Kolb, introduced the major concepts of quality control and walked attendees through the process, focusing on the importance of precise measurement at exact moments and highlighting the need for reproducibility of results. Not only does accurate quality control result in top-shelf products, it also saves significant amounts of money, justifying the cost of the equipment needed.

A central component of many quality control processes is the Kjeldahl method for determining a substance’s nitrogen content. Buchi’s first presentation focused on ways to simplify this process, paying close attention to the amount of tablets one uses and colour-coding samples to speed up the process. The team explained how to use the industry standard KjelMaster K-375 titrator, available exclusively from Labotec, in conjunction with the Kjel Optimiser App to get optimal results.

After a look at some common extraction methods (including food, fat and solid liquid extraction) Buchi’s Agnes Kolb walked attendees through the advantages of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, which allows for fast, non-contact, non-destructive measurements with remarkable accuracy. Using NIR spectroscopy, it is possible to quantify samples in as little as 16 seconds, cutting down on time spent doing quality control and providing a massive return on investment over time.

After a coffee break, a hands-on session followed demonstrating the practical application using a variety of lab instruments. Lots of questions were answered and the feeling among attendees was positive, with many indicating that they had learned something useful on the day.

Buchi’s Dr Nicholai Kraut and Agnes Kolb, both specialists in quality control optimisation.