What Our Scientists Do: Part Two

Dr. Chin Chiang, Sr. lab scientist, and Marilyn Contreras-Pinegar, Quality Control manager, are standing proudly next to our new HPLC instrument.

Dr. Chin Chiang, Sr. lab scientist, and Marilyn Contreras-Pinegar, Quality Control manager, are standing proudly next to our new HPLC instrument.

There’s one room of the lab that has three GC’s and a mass spec in it. Here’s another room where Marilyn Contreras-Pinegear  and Dr. Chin are standing next to the UPLC: Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography instrument. You might also hear of UHPLC—Ultra High Pressure Liquid Chromatography. What’s different about that instrument? UPLC is the same thing as UHPLC, except for the fact that UPLC is the patented name for a Waters’ instrument.

The main differences between GC and LC is that GC uses a gas mobile phase, while LC uses a liquid mobile phase. Mobile phase refers to what is pushing the sample through the system. Another difference is that a GC focuses on light, volatile compounds, while LC focuses on heavier, larger compounds that don’t necessarily show up in a GC.

It’s taken me many years to get that instrument because it costs so much money. That one instrument cost over $100K. I didn’t need to do that. I could have taken a bonus. But yes, I did need to do it for each of you so that you know when I say your oil is pure, it’s not a guess and I’m not standing up here telling you a bunch of lies. It’s a fact. I’ve invested in your present and in your future.

All of this is just the analytical part where we carry out over nine different tests just on the analytical chemistry of the essential oils.

Brett Smith, research scientist, is seated at the GC-MS, where he performs essential oil analysis.

Brett Smith, research scientist, is seated at the GC-MS, where he performs essential oil analysis.

There’s Brett Smith sitting at the GC-MS. That’s the instrument that fragments our oils to allow us to identify every constituent in them.