For the third time in the past five years, the Analytical Services laboratory at the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) has received the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) International Accuracy Award for Operation of the Amylograph (2010). The award, which Cigi also won in 2006 and 2007, recognizes the laboratory submitting the most accurate results through AACC International’s check sample service.
Laboratories worldwide can participate in the service which allows them an opportunity to gauge the accuracy of laboratory equipment and methodology used by their technicians. Several check sample series are available to assess accuracy in both chemical analyses as well as physical testing methods.
Participating laboratories receive check samples from AACC International for testing according to the frequency specified for the series (monthly or bi-monthly). Each laboratory analyzes the sample and submits their results to AACC International which then compares the laboratory’s data to those of other laboratories using appropriate statistical analyses. All laboratories subscribing to a particular check sample series are automatically eligible for the Accuracy Award but only the laboratory with the most accurate analyses receives the award.
Between 22 and 24 laboratories participate in the bi-monthly amylograph series, says Elaine Sopiwnyk, Head of Cigi’s Analytical Services. The amylograph is primarily used to evaluate the effect of alpha-amylase activity in flour caused by sprout damage in wheat, providing information similar to the falling number test. Wet harvest conditions can trigger sprouting in wheat kernels, resulting in high levels of the enzyme alpha-amylase which negatively affect the quality of end products.
In addition to the amylograph, Cigi also participates in four other check sample series that includes the farinograph (large bowl), rapid visco analyzer (RVA), alveograph, and a sample for protein, moisture, ash, and falling number. In each of these series, Cigi’s results were rated as outstanding for accuracy and precision.
Elaine says this achievement is significant for all the Analytical Services staff and shows their versatility as they are required to perform every analytical and physical test that the laboratory offers. More than 30 tests or procedures are conducted in the Cigi laboratory. Working with Elaine during 2010 were technologist Kristina Pizzi, and technicians Rosa DeStefano, Shona Temple and Da An.
“We are very pleased to be recognized with this award three times since 2006,” says Elaine. Participation in the AACC International check sample service tells our customers that they can have confidence in the test results generated at Cigi.