EPA compliant sample preparation for environmental analysis

Current regulatory developments in the US market have led to increased use of the BUCHI Syncore in contract labs

Environmental_landscape lr

Industrialization, globalization, economic growth and an expanding green conscience demand a qualitative and quantitative leap in environmental protection and analysis. This development is widely supported, globally accepted, and increasingly impacts local as well as global regulation and law. Numerous countries have implemented strict regulations or have tightened their demand for an environmentally sustainable economy during recent years.

One of the latest and most prominent examples for tightened legislation is the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). The US EPA has not only lowered the threshold values for numerous harmful emissions for both industry and research, but has also started to tightly regulate laboratories responsible for testing such emissions. This has created quite a significant environmental testing industry, mostly consisting of customer contract laboratories specialized in testing various environmental samples in accordance to US EPA regulations. Recent news from several US states indicate that the agency has started to enforce those regulations and closely monitor affected institutions. This has already led to several substantial and publicly released monetary fines in 2014. The main point of interest of the US EPA is the organic solvent balance of affected companies. Solvents purchased and used by companies must be accounted for upon disposal, discrepancies are attributed to loss of solvent to the atmosphere. Among other factors, organic solvent emissions are a critical influence on air pollution and the greenhouse effect. Companies which fail to verify their solvent turnover are subject to further EPA investigations.

This situation becomes important once contract labs have reached a certain size. With dozens or hundreds of mandatory solvent exchanges and evaporations every day, the solvent emission factor becomes a serious aspect for every company in this segment.

For more than 75 years the family owned Swiss company, BÜCHI Labortechnik AG, has been known as a leading provider for solutions in rotary and parallel evaporation. Sustainability is one of BUCHI’s core values, a creed that has resulted in many environmentally friendly innovations and products which aim to conserve energy and water resulting in the smallest possible impact on the environment. One such product is the Syncore® Analyst, a highly productive parallel evaporator combined with the latest SVR (solvent vapor recovery system) technology, which allows simultaneous drying or concentration of up to 12 samples to a pre-defined residual volume at low temperatures while applying gentle vacuum conditions.

The Syncore® is tailored to the demands of modern high-throughput environmental laboratories. High analyte recoveries, even of sensitive compounds such as SVOCs, are obtained by means of a chilled zone at the bottom of each sample vessel. When used in combination with the programmable BUCHI vacuum controller and the individual sample sealing work quality is increased by automating processes to produce reproducible results and eliminate the chance of samples going to dryness or being cross-contaminated. High analyte recoveries are further obtained using a chilled Flushback module. The Flushback module partially condenses the solvent vapor at the top part of the sample vessel generating a continuous rinsing along the glass wall. Thus, adsorption of analytes at the glass wall is avoided.

The solvent vapor is condensed at the primary condenser and collected, a post-pump secondary condenser makes sure no solvent vapors escape the evaporation system. As a result, solvent recoveries greater than 95% are achieved. This not only eliminates harmful solvent emissions inside the laboratory, it is also beneficial to the environment and saves money as the recovered solvent can be reused.

Automated parallel sample concentration with high analyte and solvent recovery is achieved with the Syncore® Analyst. The Syncore® technology reduces manual labor and is fully compliant with the latest amendments to the regulations by the US EPA Solvent Emission Program, yielding solvent recoveries greater than 95%.

Current regulatory developments in the US market have therefore led to increased use of the BUCHI Syncore in these contract labs. This increased popularity of the Syncore not only proves that the combination of fast parallel evaporation, low cost per sample, and high solvent recovery is unrivaled, but also that the instrument is fully compliant with the latest emission regulations.

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Voice of the customer:
“If you’re looking to take your laboratory to a better level of quality, efficiency, and environmental friendliness, the Syncore Analyst is the way to go”
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Lionel Thomas, Laboratory Manager,
Accutest Laboratories, NJ


Best@BUCHI #43: Determination of Pear Content in Apple Juice

Best@BUCHI #43: Determination of Pear Content in Apple Juice

Best@BUCHI #43: Determination of Pear Content in Apple Juice

This Best@BUCHI #43 study describes a method for determining of the pear content in fruit (Apple) juices.

By means of the SPE-cartridge module Syncore® Analyst parallel evaporator the number of samples analyzed per day can be increased by three times. The method was assessed successfully with 17 samples, the analytical results of which are detailed and evaluated.

As cider pears have a lower market value than cider apples, it is frequently suspected that apple juice is diluted with the cheaper pear juice. According to Swiss law, apple juice can contain a maximum 10% of pear juice and pear juice a maximum 10% of apple juice. For any other ratios a different designation, e.g. sweet must or fruit juice has to be used, so that the composition is clear for the consumer.

The question posed is how to check that such a regulation has been followed. To ensure the purity of a fruit juice, the SLMB (Swiss Handbook for Food) suggests the analysis of proline.

According to these guidelines, a pure apple juice should contain <15 mg/l of proline, whereas pear juice has a proline content of 30 – 250 mg/l. Additionally, according to the SLMB, pear juice contains higher amounts of sorbitol (averaged 15g/l vs. 4g/l) and higher amounts of citric acid (0.1 – 4 vs. 0.05 – 0.2 g/l) compared to apple juice.

Our own analyses have shown increased concentrations of proline and sorbitol in apple juice, indicating the presence of excess pear juice, but the parameters are unreliable for a quantitative assessment of the actual contents.

The reason for this is that although these compounds are present in both apples and, in higher concentrations, in pears, the natural deviations are relatively high. Thus, these parameters only allow for a more or less qualitative conclusion concerning the actual pear content.

Another group of compounds used for the determination of fruit juice concentrations are the phenolic glycosides. Schieber et. al. describe a method to detect any addition of pear juice by determining the presence of isorhamnetin-3-glucoside. Furthermore Spanos and Wrolstad show that the phenolic profiles of apple and pear juices differ most obviously when comparing the content of 4-hydroxyphenyl-ß-D-glucopyranoside, trivially named arbutin. During subsequent years, other research groups drew the same conclusion. As to the analytic proof, the advantage of arbutin compared to other phenolic glycosides is the fact that the molecule is acid-resistant.