Testing partnership aims to make compliance more affordable

The Shimadzu CG-2010 is one of the instruments that will be offered through the new software partnership. Shimadzu photo.

Shimadzu Scientific Inc. and Midi Inc. have announced a partnership whose aim is to make analytical tests more cost effective, enabling greater compliance.

In the partnership Shimadzu, a Japanese firm whose North American headquarters is in Columbia, MO and Midi, based in Newark, DE, will combine forces on the marketing of Shimadzu’s scientific instruments with Midi’s proprietary software suite. Midi’s software, called Sherlock, will enhance the functionality of Shimadzu’s 2010 GC, i-Series UHPLC, GCMS chromatography systems and its built in LabSolutions software, said Midi CEO Myron Sasser.

“We are fairly new in the supplement arena,” Sasser told NutraIngredients-USA. “We are adapting software that we have used for more than 25 years to identify soil bacteria.”

Powerful automated platform

Sherlock chromatography analysis software is billed as a comprehensive and powerful data analysis platform, which precisely names compounds, performs complex pattern recognition and gives customers the ability to visually analyze their data in many different ways. Results are delivered automatically, reproducibly and objectively. The first product launch will be for automated microbial identification and soil phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis on Shimadzu’s 2010 GC product line, followed by solutions for the UHPLC and GCMS instruments.

Sasser said the goal to enable more companies to perform the wide variety of tests called for in dietary supplement GMPs. The Sherlock system, when armed with the proper library databases, can automate and make more certain much of the identification work necessary to comply with the regulations.

“When it’s first logged into the computer, the system runs a suitability test (to make sure fit for purpose tests are being employed). They is analyzes a sample, naming all the peaks, and the results are fed in a chemometric package to identify the material. All that can be done with a keystroke,” Sasser said.

Sasser said that while much of Midi’s experience has been in agro-biotech and other related industries, the company has a certain depth of experience in identifying food compounds via its long standing relationship with McCormick, and that partnership will form the bedrock of its botanical standards library.

“They use our system to authenticate all their spices and herbs. They provided us with a lot of authenticated standards for those materials. We will also work with groups like the National Institute of Standards and the National Center for Natural Products Research on botanical standards,” Sasser said.

Greater flexibility expands market

“By combining their Sherlock software platform with state-of-the-art Shimadzu analytical instrumentation, along with our breadth of sales and support, we can offer even more customer-focused solutions,” said Mark Janeczko, marketing manager for Shimadzu. “Our strategy is not just selling instruments. We want to partner with the top experts and this is a case in point.”

Sasser said the significant savings the system offers can come in the form of reduced staff time over more manual chromatographic approaches. And it could allow a company to do vastly more testing, laying a foundation for greater transparency and quality. Sasser also said proprietary features of the software platform make it more sensitive. It instantly takes a deeper look at chromatographic results, making it less likely that even sophisticated adulterated samples, those doctored with ancillary chemicals to closely match the results of authentic materials, will slip through.

“We are targeting the whole supply chain, not just the contract analytical groups. We believe the industry can be self regulating, and we intend to offer this solution to anyone who needs it,” Sasser said.

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