Thursday, May 28, 2015

Genetically Modified Organisms a Cause for Concern? | Greyhound Chromatography Certified Reference Standards

Genetically Modified Organisms a Cause for Concern?

Popular restaurant chain Chipotle announced that it would stop using genetically modified organisms in its food recently, in an online post. The restaurant has in the past disclosed its use of genetically modified corn and soy in the tortillas, corn salsa and cooking oil and will now be the first to stop using crops made from GMOs.

Chipotle explained in a statement on its website that using GMOs doesn't mesh with the company's values.

"Chipotle is on a never-ending journey to source the highest quality ingredients we can find. Over the years, as we have learned more about GMOs, we've decided that using them in our food doesn't align with that vision. Chipotle was the first national restaurant company to disclose the GMO ingredients in our food, and now we are the first to cook only with non-GMO ingredients," the company explained.

Among the reasons that Chipotle listed against the use of GMOs, it noted that the use of certain pesticides and herbicides grew significantly as GMOs have risen in popularity. Because crops, such as corn, alfalfa, cotton and canola, have been genetically altered they can withstand being treated with glyphosate or RoundUp, which will kill other pests without hurting the crops. Additionally, the plants are designed to be resistant to pests themselves.

The restaurant also pointed to a lack of knowledge of the long-term effects of GMOs as another reason why it was no longer using genetically modified crops in its food.

Criticism of Chipotle's move
NPR's The Salt, which covers food news, pointed out that Chipotle's move away from GMOs may be more about marketing than anything else. For example, although Chipotle has announced the end to using GMOs in their food, they'll still be serving soda and meat, which are likely made with GMOs, The Salt noted.

One of the most significant hypocrisies in Chipotle's policy shift is related to glyphosate and superweeds. On its website Chipotle gives a brief explanation about how when GMOs are regularly treated with glyphosate it can eventually lead to the emergence of "superweeds" or weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and other herbicides. To avoid contributing to the production of these "superweeds" Chipotle announced it would switch from using soybean oil to sunflower oil, according to The Salt.

Although these sunflowers aren't GMOs, they're still bred specifically to be resistant to ALS inhibitors. ALS inhibitors are a type of herbicide that prevent plants from reproducing on a genetic level. Sunflower farmers are able to use these herbicides on their crop without worrying about their affect on the sunflowers. This eventually can lead to resistant weeds, similarly to with glyphosate and GMOS.

"Why should Chipotle bemoan the emergence of weeds that are resistant to glyphosate, yet not to other weedkillers?" The Salt asked.

More GMO news to keep coming
Chipotle's GMO news is likely only the latest in what's expected to be many public fights about GMOs. Bloomberg Business reported that the New York legislature is expected to decide on a GMO labelling bill in the near future. It could require companies to label foods whether or not they contain GMOs.

Supporters of the labelling say it will give people better knowledge over what they're eating, while opponents say it will raise food costs and unfairly benefit organic farmers.

The fight in New York follows a similar one over hydraulic fracturing in the state that also pitted environmentalists against chemical companies and industrialists, according to Bloomberg.

GMO-labelling bills failed in California, Washington and Oregon. Opponents to laws in those states were funded by Monsanto – maker of  RoundUp and inventor of glyphosate – and DuPont, both which have a stake in GMOs. Labelling laws did pass in Connecticut and Maine, but have not gone into effect yet.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

NEW: SGE GC Connections Brochure and Poster

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For over 30 years Greyhound Chromatography has been supplying high quality Chromatography consumables to laboratories around the world. Greyhound’s extensive range covers all areas of Environmental, Petrochemical, Food, Forensics, Chemical and Pharmaceutical analysis. Backed by a highly experienced technical services team, Greyhound is the preferred source amongst today’s analysts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Alkaloid Reference Standards | Greyhound Chromatography

Extrasynthese Alkaloid Reference Standards

Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Some synthetic compounds of similar structure are also termed alkaloids. In addition to carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, alkaloids may also contain oxygen, sulfur and more rarely other elements such as chlorine, bromine, and phosphorus.

Alkaloids are produced by a large variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. They can be purified from crude extracts of these organisms by acid-base extraction. Alkaloids have a wide range of pharmacological activities including antimalarial (e.g. quinine), antiasthma (e.g. ephedrine), anticancer (e.g. homoharringtonine),cholinomimetic (e.g. galantamine), vasodilatory (e.g. vincamine), antiarrhythmic (e.g. quinidine), analgesic (e.g. morphine), antibacterial (e.g. chelerythrine), and antihyperglycemic activities (e.g. piperine). Many have found use in traditional or modern medicine, or as starting points for drug discovery. Other alkaloids possess psychotropic (e.g. psilocin) and stimulant activities (e.g. cocaine, caffeine, nicotine), and have been used in entheogenic rituals or as recreational drugs. Alkaloids can be toxic too (e.g. atropine, tubocurarine). Although alkaloids act on a diversity of metabolic systems in humans and other animals, they almost uniformly invoke a bitter taste.

The boundary between alkaloids and other nitrogen-containing natural compounds is not clear-cut. Compounds like amino acid peptides, proteins, nucleotides, nucleic acid, amines, and antibiotics are usually not called alkaloids. Natural compounds containing nitrogen in the exocyclic position (mescaline, serotonin, dopamine, etc.) are usually classified as amines rather than as alkaloids. Some authors, however, consider alkaloids a special case of amines.

Compared with most other classes of natural compounds, alkaloids are characterized by a great structural diversity and there is no uniform classification of alkaloids. First classification methods have historically combined alkaloids by the common natural source, e.g., a certain type of plants. This classification was justified by the lack of knowledge about the chemical structure of alkaloids and is now considered obsolete.

More recent classifications are based on similarity of the carbon skeleton (e.g., indole-, isoquinoline-, and pyridine-like) or biochemical precursor (ornithine, lysine, tyrosine, tryptophan, etc.). However, they require compromises in borderline cases; for example, nicotine contains a pyridine fragment from nicotinamide and pyrrolidine part from ornithine and therefore can be assigned to both classes.

Alkaloids are often divided into the following major groups:

"True alkaloids", which contain nitrogen in the heterocycle and originate from amino acids. Their characteristic examples are atropine, nicotine, and morphine. This group also includes some alkaloids that besides nitrogen heterocycle contain terpene (e.g., evonine or peptide fragments (e.g. ergotamine). This group also includes piperidine alkaloids coniine and coniceine although they do not originate from amino acids.

"Protoalkaloids", which contain nitrogen and also originate from amino acids.Examples include mescaline, adrenaline and ephedrine.
Polyamine alkaloids – derivatives of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine.

Peptide and cyclopeptide alkaloids.
Pseudalkaloids – alkaloid-like compounds that do not originate from amino acids.This group includes terpene-like and steroid-like alkaloids, as well as purine-like alkaloids such as caffeine, theobromine, theacrine and theophylline. Some authors classify as pseudoalkaloids such compounds such as ephedrine and cathinone. Those originate from the amino acid phenylalanine, but acquire their nitrogen atom not from the amino acid but through transamination.

Some alkaloids do not have the carbon skeleton characteristic of their group. So, galantamine and homoaporphines do not contain isoquinoline fragment, but are, in general, attributed to isoquinoline alkaloids.

Distribution in nature
Strychnine tree. Its seeds are rich in strychnine and brucine.

Alkaloids are generated by various living organisms, especially by higher plants – about 10 to 25% of those contain alkaloids. Therefore, in the past the term "alkaloid" was associated with plants.

The alkaloids content in plants is usually within a few percent and is inhomogeneous over the plant tissues. Depending on the type of plants, the maximum concentration is observed in the leaves (black henbane), fruits or seeds (Strychnine tree), root (Rauwolfia serpentina) or bark (cinchona). Furthermore, different tissues of the same plants may contain different alkaloids.

Beside plants, alkaloids are found in certain types of fungi, such as psilocybin in the fungus of the genus Psilocybe, and in animals, such as bufotenin in the skin of some toads.[21] Many marine organisms also contain alkaloids.[169] Some amines, such as adrenaline and serotonin, which play an important role in higher animals, are similar to alkaloids in their structure and biosynthesis and are sometimes called alkaloids.


Crystals of piperine extracted from black pepper.

Because of the structural diversity of alkaloids, there is no single method of their extraction from natural raw materials. Most methods exploit the property of most alkaloids to be soluble in organic solvents but not in water, and the opposite tendency of their salts.

Most plants contain several alkaloids. Their mixture is extracted first and then individual alkaloids are separated. Plants are thoroughly ground before extraction.Most alkaloids are present in the raw plants in the form of salts of organic acids.The extracted alkaloids may remain salts or change into bases.Base extraction is achieved by processing the raw material with alkaline solutions and extracting the alkaloid bases with organic solvents, such as 1,2-dichloroethane, chloroform, diethyl ether or benzene. Then, the impurities are dissolved by weak acids; this converts alkaloid bases into salts that are washed away with water. If necessary, an aqueous solution of alkaloid salts is again made alkaline and treated with an organic solvent. The process is repeated until the desired purity is achieved.

In the acidic extraction, the raw plant material is processed by a weak acidic solution (e.g., acetic acid in water, ethanol, or methanol). A base is then added to convert alkaloids to basic forms that are extracted with organic solvent (if the extraction was performed with alcohol, it is removed first, and the remainder is dissolved in water). The solution is purified as described above.

Alkaloids are separated from their mixture using their different solubility in certain solvents and different reactivity with certain reagents or by distillation.


Biological precursors of most alkaloids are amino acids, such as ornithine, lysine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, histidine, aspartic acid, and anthranilic acid. Nicotinic acid can be synthesized from tryptophan or aspartic acid. Ways of alkaloid biosynthesis are too numerous and cannot be easily classified.However, there are a few typical reactions involved in the biosynthesis of various classes of alkaloids, including synthesis of Schiff bases and Mannich reaction.

Greyhound Chromatography is pleased to announce the addition of Extrasynthese reference materials to its extensive range of Certified Reference Standards and Materials.

Extrasynthese are recognised experts in extraction, synthesis and purification of natural substances. Extrasynthese products have been used for almost 30 years as reference materials for regulatory filing and quality testing and as substrates for early stage research and development.

Greyhound Chromatography will supply the full range of Extrasynthese products from its UK depot at Kelvin Park, Birkenhead.

Please view the catalogue online.

Alkaloid Reference Standards manufactured by Extrasynthese:

Ajmalicine hydrochloride
alpha-Lobeline hydrochloride
Arecoline hydrobromide
Atropine sulfate
Berberine chloride
Chelerythrine chloride


(+)-Chelidonine hydrochloride

Convolvamine hydrochloride
Corynanthine hydrochloride
Cytochalasin C
DL-Coniine hydrochloride
DL-Laudanosoline hydrobromide trihydrate

Emetine dihydrochloride

Gelsemine hydrochloride
Harmalol hydrochloride
Harman hydrochloride
Harmol hydrochloride
Homatropine hydrobromide
Hydrocotarnine hydrobromide

L-Hyoscyamine hydrobromide
L-Hyoscyamine sulfate

(+)-Isocorydine hydrochloride

Oxyacanthine sulfate
Palmatine chloride
Protopine hydrochloride
Pseudopelletierine hydrochloride
Quinidine sulfate
Quinine hydrochloride
Quinine sulfate salt hydrate
Rauwolscine hydrochloride
Reserpic acid hydrochloride
Salsolinol hydrobromide
Sanguinarine chloride
Sanguinarine nitrate
Sempervirine nitrate
Sparteine sulfate
Stachydrine hydrochloride


Trigonelline hydrochloride

(+)-Tubocurarine chloride
Yohimbine hydrochloride
Yohimbinic acid monohydrate

Also available:
Alkaloids and Derivatives, Amines and Derivatives, Aminoacids and Derivatives, Anthocyans, Cardiogl Ycosides, Carotenoids, Catechins, Tannins, Coumarins, Cyanoglucosides and Derivatives, Diarylheptanoids, Diteroenoids, Fatty Acids and Derivatives, Flavonoids, Glucosides, Hydrocarbons, Iridoids, Lignans, Lipids, Monoterpene, Oils, Oligosaccharide, Organic Acids and Derivatives, Phenolic Acids and derivatives, Purines, Phytosterol, Quinone-Anthraquinone-Xanthone, Sesquiterpenoids, Steroids, Sugars and Derivatives, Sulfur Derivatives, Toxins, Triterpenoids, Vitamins, Xanthone.

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