Gov­ern­ment lab re­leases ‘world’s fastest prep’ for test­ing for pes­ti­cide: COA

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY ENRU LIN

A gov­ern­ment- run lab said it has de­vel­oped a 60- sec­ond method of ex­tract­ing a sam­ple for pes­ti­cide test­ing, the fastest on the global mar­ket.

The tech­nol­ogy should gen­er­ate NT$ 6.6 bil­lion in over­seas mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties over 10 years, ac­cord­ing to the Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture ( COA).

“At present, it is the fastest ex­trac­tion tech­nique for pes­ti­cide test­ing avail­able on the global mar­ket to­day,” said Fei Wen- chi ( ) , di­rec­tor of the Tai­wan Agri­cul­tural Chem­i­cals and Toxic Sub­stances Re­search In­sti­tute ( ) un­der the COA.

The “one- step and one­minute” method was de­vel­oped for use by chem­i­cal an­a­lysts at state- run test­ing cen­ters across Tai­wan. The COA ex­pects it to shorten turn­around time from 40 min­utes to 60 sec­onds, im­prov­ing man­power ef­fi­ciency.

It re­ceived a Tai­wan patent on July 20 and has en­tered trial pro­duc­tion as a public- topri­vate tech­nol­ogy trans­fer. Patents are pend­ing in the United States and China, Fei said.

One- Step Ex­trac­tion

The COA said the new tech­nique is set to re­place QuEChERS ( Quick, Easy, Cheap, Ef­fec­tive, Rugged and Safe), an eight­step process cur­rently used at test­ing labs across Tai­wan.

QuEChERS takes 30 to 40 min­utes and calls on re­searchers to blend a piece of the ag- ri­cul­tural prod­uct, shake it by hand, add in mul­ti­ple so­lu­tions and run the liq­uid through a cen­trifuge twice be­fore ex­tract­ing a sam­ple suit­able for test­ing.

The new ex­trac­tion method lets a lab worker ex­tract a suit­able sam­ple by mix­ing it with a sol­vent that binds to im­pu­ri­ties and press­ing the liq­uid through a plunger.

Us­ing this method, each lab worker can test around 40 sam­ples a day, up from the eight to 15 that are pos­si­ble through the QuEChERS tech­nique, ac­cord­ing to Lin Shao- kai ( ), the lead devel­oper of the rapi­dex­trac­tion tech­nique.

The rapid- ex­trac­tion tech­nique should cut solid lab waste by at least 70 per­cent and chem­i­cal lab waste like sor­bents and buf­fers by half, while match­ing or best­ing the ac­cu­racy of pre­vi­ous meth­ods, ac­cord­ing to the COA.

Youth to Farms

Also on Wed­nes­day, the COA re­ported on its new plan to boost youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in Tai­wan’s ag­ing agri­cul­tural sec­tor over the next 10 years.

Un­der the pro­posal, the gov­ern­ment will ear­mark NT$ 3 bil­lion over six years to train 12,500 youth to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, where the av­er­age age is 62.

The coun­cil yesterday re­ported on the pro­posal to Premier Mao Chi- kuo ( ) of the Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan, which is widely ex­pected to ap­prove it to­day.

Enru Lin

Re­searcher Lin Shao-kai ( ), right, demon­strates a newly de­vel­oped rapi­dex­trac­tion tech­nique for pes­ti­cide test­ing in Taipei, yesterday.

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