ICUMSA News n°6 – 1989

Message from the President

Review of Methods

In the January issue a brief report was given of the review of methods for conformity with IUPAC guidelines for collaborative testing. By now all Referees will have received from Mrs Godshall a report listing in some detail the comments and recommendations of her Working Group on each of the methods reviewed.

I would now like to indicate what I believe should happen next. Firstly, the report of the Working Group should be made available to all who wish to study it and any comments which people wish to make should be directed to the Referee affected and to Mrs Godshall. When all such comments are taken aboard, Mrs Godshall will be able to write her Subject 3 Referee’s report for presentation at the 20th Session next year. At the same time individual referees affected by this report can also consider what action is appropriate and include recommendations in their own Referees’ reports.

At the 20th Session in Colorado Springs we can expect to emerge with a comprehensive plan which addresses the issue of methods not meeting IUPAC standards. This is especially timely as we will be reviewing methods for publication in the Method Format new methods book.

Method Format

The Publication Committee is presently examining options for a method format to be used in the new book. It is a prerequisite that this format must meet the requirements for international recognition. It seems to me, that if we would be happy with a format that already has that recognition this might be a convenient course to follow. For example, we could adopt the method format used by ISO. I would not like to see methods forced to conform to a specified degree of detail though I appreciate that there must be some irreducible minimum in order to satisfy all aspects of the format. Some methods, like polarisation of raw sugars, get their good repeatability and reproducibility from a high degree of method specification. This of course may not apply to all methods. Any member with views on method format which they would like considered should discuss them with Mr Dutton.

Referees’ Reports for 20th Session

In the past, Referees’ Reports have often been received too late before the Session for National Committees to properly consider the recommendations put forward. A special effort should be made to have reports in the General Secretary’s hands by the end of 1989. It would be useful if Referees could at the same time send copies to each of the Chairmen of National Committees for distribution and discussion. While the General Secretary will also send complete sets of reports to National Committees, this will not happen until February 1990 at the earliest, so valuable time is lost when others could be discussing the Referees’ reports.

With the above timing in mind it would seem that collaborative testing should be largely completed by the middle of 1989 to allow adequate time for the working up of the data and the writing and discussion of results before the Referee’s report can be produced.

Contributions to Referees’ Reports

Since our Sessions take the form of a presentation of the Referee’s Report and discussion of the material contained therein, anyone wishing to have some matter of interest discussed must endeavour to have it dealt with in a Referee’s Report. This of course allows everyone to have prior knowledge of what is up for discussion and to have some time to consider carefully one’s own views. Where National Committees wish to have their views considered by a Referee in his report, such material must be in the hands of the Referee in sufficient time for him to properly deal with it. Given the deadline proposed for Referees’ Reports, it would seem reasonable that Referees will need to have submissions no later than, say September 1989 if they are to give them proper consideration.

Length of Referees’ Reports

The Publications Department continually reminds us of the need to contain the size of our proceedings. Not only does this mean that reports should be concise but also, reports should not be regarded as the main vehicle for publishing data for the first time. The results of collaborative tests should be submitted to refereed journals for publication as technical articles. In this way they get wider distribution and they are subject to the judgement of our peers. Even if it is not possible to have collaborative test results published before writing Referees’ reports, it would be a good goal to aim to have papers submitted to technical journals. Such data can then be cited as “submitted for publication”.

Portugal forms National Committee

Mr Luis Bento of Refinerias de Açucar Reunidas (RAR) has advised the Commission that a meeting has been held with representatives of Sociedade Industrial do Ultramar (Sidul), Sociedade de Refinadores de Santa Iria (Sores), Sociedade de Industrias Agricolas Ayorianas (Sinaga) as well as his own organisation at which it was resolved to form a Portugese National Committee of ICUMSA. The executive of that committee comprises Mrs M.E. Moreira (Sidul), Mrs M.T. Sena Belo (Sores), Dr A. Soares (Sinaga) and Mr Bento (RAR). Members who attended the 19th Session at Cannes will remember Mrs Moreira attending as an observer. A formal application by the National Committee for affiliation with our Commission is expected shortly.

Subject 6 – Spectroscopy

by Giorgio Mantovani, Univ. of Ferrara

Spectroscopy as an ICUMSA subject is new even though the techniques involved have long been of great interest. Indeed, both organic and inorganic compounds are regularly measured by spectroscopy. Suggestions of new avenues which might be pursued are sought from all members, not just the Subject’s Associate Referees. For example, the emergence of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) in recent years suggests that there may be scope for future collaboration on methods based on this technique.

Following the re-organisation of subjects after the Cannes meeting, three Recommendations were assigned to the new subject 6. These were:

(1) A method for the standard preparation of sugar samples for trace metal determination by atomic absorption and emission spectroscopy should be chosen and submitted to a collaborative study.

(2) Methods for the determination of a-amino acid nitrogen should be further studied, for instance by the fluorometric determination method.

(3) Research work should be carried out to find methods for determining formaldehyde in white sugar.

A recent invitation to Subject 6 Associate Referees to participate in collaboratively testing methods envisaged in the above recommendations did not produce the required eight collaborators. Your Referee seeks an indication of willingness to participate in testing the above methods from any member with an interest in this work.

In preparing the Referee’s Report for the 20th Session, suggestions and comments on possible methods based on spectroscopy would be most welcome.

Starch derived sweeteners

by Dr. Brian Whitehouse, General Referee

I have accepted Dr. Player’s invitation to direct the work of the reactivated Subject 09, Starch derived Sweeteners, notwithstanding the difficulties one sometimes experiences in getting agreement on analytical methods within one’s own company let alone between international bodies.

While I have already indicated to Associate Referees the directions, I believe we should pursue, I would like to extend an invitation to readers to contribute as well (my fax-number is +32 2 2542675).

My immediate objectives are:

– to identify problems being experienced with existing methods

– to agree on priorities for work leading to collaborative testing of new or existing methods.

At the November 1988 meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling, only temporary endorsement was given to most of the methods of sugar analysis proposed for revised Codex standards. The deficiency in most cases concerned the lack of collaborative testing and already plans have been made to rectify this for some “tried and trusted” ISO and ICUMSA methods.

In my view, the activities of Subject 09 should not dwell on old “grandfather methods” but those concerned with the determination of the sugars composition of products ranging from maltodextrins to high dextrose syrups. For many years now HPLC methods have been taken for granted but standardization must be addressed. In doing so the interests of chemists as well as the marketplace must be considered. The measurement of the relative proportions of mono-, di- and oligosaccharides of many intermediate and finished products have a great bearing on their processability and is also being demanded by customers. I believe this is an important subject for study.

Codex aims to have single reference methods which can be used in settling disputes or to which simpler routine methods may be related. The viewing between international organisations like IFG, ISO, AOAC and ICUMSA for recognition of competing methods can be counter-productive and the Inter-Agency Committee was formed to promote collaboration between such organisations. I would hope that the activities of Subject 09 can contribute to the establishment of method uniformity between all international organisations with an interest in this subject. I look forward to participating and invite your assistance.

Editor: R. Pieck, Klein Spanuit 9, B-3300 Tienen, Mai 1989-Tel. +32 16/81 24 36 -Telex 222 51 -Telefax +31 16/82 03 17