Explorer 2.0 and the Food Bank

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Nowadays we are living hard times of global crisis so we must show solidarity and help each other. In ZEU we are aware of this, consequently we support a welfare initiative in which we encourage our customers to cooperate with us. ZEU a company committed with food safety will donate 1% of Explorer 2.0 sales to the Food Bank. Every time you test with Explorer 2.0 you are helping the Food Bank cause. Because everyone deserves to have food every day.

For more information: info@zeulab.com

Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis: Fourth Joint Symposium AOAC Task Force Meeting 2013

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As in previous editions in Baiona (Spain) Zeulab attended to the Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis: Fourth Joint Symposium and AOAC Task Force Meeting, last May 5-9, 2013. The symposium update issues on the field of the analysis of Marine and Freshwater toxins, with special focus on new method developments, method validation efforts, and method implementation, as a joint meeting with the AOAC Task Force on Marine and Freshwater Toxins. Zeulab presented a poster showing different options to implement the PP2A method, OkaTest, for lipophilic toxins monitoring complying with the legal requirements. OkaTest could be used in routine monitoring determining OA-toxins group while LC-MS test for YTX, PTX and AZA. This would reduce the injections by half and so the turnaround time. OkaTest can also be implemented when a OA-bloom has been identified. Labs with large number of samples or limited access to LC-MS equipment could benefit from using both methodologies in combination. A shorter time-around time and low cost per sample could be achieved implementing both methods for routine monitoring of lipophilic toxins. This international symposium brought together experts in the field of biotoxins, from many European countries and other worldwide locations such as Mexico, USA, Canada, Japan, are some of the countries that participated in the symposium. poster ZEU OKatest + LS-MS

Plankton adaptation to warmer oceans.

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Phytoplankton carry out around half of all photosynthesis on Earth. They lower CO2 concentrations in the oceans, add oxygen to our atmosphere, and are the basis of most ocean and many freshwater food chains. When they die, phytoplanktons also sequester carbon in the deep ocean as they sink towards the ocean floor. The organisms’ close relationship with CO2 and the carbon cycle means that climate change scientists need to understand how global warming will alter phytoplankton populations. Additionally, ecologists wish to understand phytoplankton to predict the oceans’ future health.

Water temperatures significantly affect the limits of phytoplankton growth rates: populations near the equator have the potential to grow much faster than strains found in cooler waters, near the poles, given sufficient nutrients. The researchers of this study believe that current models underestimate the effects of rising temperatures on ocean ecosystems. Such models focus on indirect mechanisms, such as how rising temperatures lead to fewer nutrients in surface ocean waters. This study therefore investigated the direct effect of higher temperatures on individual phytoplankton species.

The scientists used an eco-evolutionary model to investigate how phytoplankton adapts to current ocean temperatures. They also used species distribution models, to predict how ocean temperature changes would affect populations.

The results suggest that by the end of the 21st century, warmer oceans will lead to a greater diversity of plankton populations nearer the poles, but fewer varieties in warmer, tropical waters at the equator. Even though marine organisms can disperse over long distances carried by ocean currents, each plankton strain grows best at an optimum temperature and adapts to its local environment. Tropical strains appear to be most vulnerable to rising temperatures. The researchers predict that around a third of current strains in the tropics would become extinct by 2100 if mean temperatures increase by just 2°C. However, high genetic diversity within species may prevent the loss of entire species.

Rising temperatures will thus affect phytoplankton in different ways, depending on their location. Until we learn more about how phytoplankton evolves, there is significant uncertainty regarding how these organisms will respond to climate change and to what extent we can rely upon them to remove CO2 from our atmosphere. The future health of the ocean ecosystems that depend on them is also threatened.

Source: European Commission News Alert: Science for Environment Policy

Thomas, M.K., Kremer, C.T., Klausmeier, C.A., and Litchman, E. (2012) A Global Pattern of Thermal Adaptation in Marine Phytoplankton. Science. 338: 1085-1088.

Determination of OA-toxins by a phosphatase inhibition assay. Collaborative study.

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Just published the collaborative study on OkaTest, colorimetric phophatase inhibition assay for OA-toxins. Smienk et al, 2013, J. AOAC International. 96, 1, 77-85. Smienk.et al.2013, JAOAC, 96,1,77-85 Abstract A collaborative study to validate a colorimetric phosphatase inhibition assay for quantitative determination of the okadaic acid (OA) toxins group in molluscs, OkaTest, was conducted. Eight test materials including mussels, scallops, clams and cockles were analysed as blind duplicates. Blank samples and materials containing different OA-toxin levels ranging from 98 to 275 µg/kg OA equivalents were included. The study was carried out by a total of 16 laboratories from 11 different countries. Values obtained for repeatability relative standard deviations (RSDr) ranged from 5.4% to 11.2% (mean 7.5%). Reproducibility relative standard deviation (RSDR) values were between 7.6% and 13.2% (mean 9.9%). The HORRAT values ranged between 0.4 and 0.6. A recovery assay was also carried out using a sample spiked with OA. A mean recovery of 98.0% and a relative standard deviation of 14.5% were obtained. The results obtained in this validation study indicate that the colorimetric phosphatase inhibition assay, OkaTest, is suitable for the quantitative determination of the OA-toxins group. OkaTest could be used as a complementary test to the reference method for monitoring the OA-toxin group. Details of the test materials, number of results submitted and results after removing outliers, together with performance values of precision (repeatability and reproducibility) obtained for the colorimetric OkaTest. Sr: Repeatability standard deviation. SR: Reproducibility standard deviation. RSDr: Repeatability relative standard deviation. RSDR: Reproducibility relative standard deviation.  r: Repeatability Limit, R: Reproducibility Limit.

Cheese celebrates his 9.000th birthday

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Humans have been eating cheese for 9.000 years. A group of researchers from UK, USA and Poland has proved that people ate cheese back in 7.000 B.C. Several pieces of pottery with holes similar to actual cheese strainers have been found in multiple sites from Anatolia, Europe and Africa. Scientists have found a great amount of milk fats inside strainers holes. So these specialized pottery vessels were used to milk processing without doubt. According to these evidences, farmers from Neolithic period did an early use of milk, separating fat-rich milk cruds from lactose-containing whey. The processing of milk could have been a relevant development in prehistoric agriculture not only allowing the preservation of milk, but also manufacturing milk derivates with less lactose more easily to digest.

Salque M., et al. Nature. 2013 Jan 24;493(7433):522-5. doi: 10.1038/nature11698