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Wissen, was drin ist.


July 2018

• Standardization of a Vitamin C Method
• New Sales Office in Berlin
• About Glasses Frames and Fashion Jewelry
• Cherries - French Ban Imports
• Expanded Laboratory Site in Hameln
• Superfoods Trends Series: Moringa


Dear Readers,

we are happy to provide you with news about the GBA Group with our 50th Newsletter. We are very happy about a recent interview relating to a standardization process for a vitamin C method. Also this time we inform you about the latest French import regulations of cherries and introduce you to the superfood the moringa tree and its benefits.

We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter!
Your GBA Group


Standardization of a Vitamin C Method Within the § 64 Working Group for Vitamins & Carotenoids

Interview with Dr. Frank Schütt, GBA Group

When the standard method for vitamin C ceased to be valid, laboratories found themselves in the peculiar situation of not having any standard method available for vitamin C. Yet standardization is very important in order to make analyses comparable on a national and international level. That’s why the § 64 Working Group for Vitamins & Carotenoids decided to standardize a new method for vitamin C. In the following interview, Dr. Frank Schütt explains how this came about, and how the working group approached this issue.

Why is there a plan to standardize a new method for vitamin C?

The previous standard method for vitamin C (§ 64 LFGB L 00.00-85/DIN EN 134130), which had been valid for many years, was withdrawn several years ago because the working practices at that time were no longer suitable for the demands of a standard method. In the period that followed, there was the unusual situation that no standard method was available for the analysis of vitamin C. In the field of vitamin analysis, this had never been seen before. After it was determined that there wouldn’t be any initiative to standardize a method on the European level, the § 64 Working Group for Vitamins & Carotenoids arrived at the decision to bring about a new standard.

Why is standardization important? Couldn’t you have kept on working without a standard method for vitamin C?

Analytical methods are standardized in order to ensure that analytical results can be compared between different laboratories. This is very important when creating and inspecting specifications for domestic and international trade. It is also important when checking and legally assessing samples that are analyzed by the monitoring authorities. Both parties, the industry and the authorities, have a great interest in being able to draw upon standard methods. These are methods that are described in detail and have proven their suitability by going through special interlaboratory testing processes. That’s why they are recognized as official references in potential legal disputes.

How exactly does the process of standardization work?

In the beginning, there is a method that has shown potential for standardization after checking its basic characteristics. This method could come from the members of the working group or from outside. In the case of our working group, we preselected a potentially suitable method that was originally developed in the research laboratories of a large multinational. Subsequently, we organized a preliminary interlaboratory comparison test, which did not yet have to fulfill all of the requirements of an interlaboratory method test. The results, however, allowed us to assess whether the method we preselected was actually eligible to be admitted into the standardization process. Last year we were able to finish the preliminary interlaboratory comparison test. Since the results of this test appear very promising, we continued the standardization process by organizing interlaboratory method testing. These results are now available and they indicate that the standardization process will be able to finish successfully. Nevertheless, a very extensive statistical evaluation must be carried out first. Finally, comprehensive editorial work is also necessary.

When can we expect the method to be published?

We expect it to be ready at the end of the year, if all of the open tasks can be completed very quickly. Yet it will presumably take until spring 2019 for the method to be published in the § 64 collection of standard methods.

How does the vitamin C reference method work?

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid) is extracted from the sample matrix using a trichloroacetic acid solution – with the addition of TCEP (tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine) for the reduction of dehydroascorbic acid. The measurement is conducted by RP-HPLC with UV detection.

What is the difference between this and earlier methods? What are the advantages?

The method comprises only a few working steps and can be executed with classic technology. The main difference in and advantage of the new method is in the reduction agent TCEP, because this not only reduces the dehydroascorbic acid to ascorbic acid, but also stabilizes the ascorbic acid very well. This helps prevent it from breaking down during the process of the analysis. This is an especially great advantage when analyzing larger series of samples.

So can all laboratories perform this method just as well?

As is the case for all analytical methods, even standard methods, the experience of the laboratory is very significant. This is particularly true for the analysis of vitamins, which pose special challenges to the laboratory’s analytical competency. The GBA Group can look back upon more than 15 years of analytical experience in this field, as well as intensive cooperation with standardization groups and panels of specialists. With our expertise, we are gladly available to assist our customers at any time, answering their questions as their expert partner.

If you have any questions about the vitamin C method or about our services in the field of laboratory analysis, then feel free to contact:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Mr Dr. Frank Schütt
Tel.: +49 (0)40 797172-0


New Sales Office in Berlin

We are pleased to announce that, as of April, the GBA Group is now represented in Berlin as well. As part of our constant efforts to be able to adapt our services in the field of environmental analysis to the needs of the customers faster, more flexibly, and more individually, we have opened a new location for the GBA Group in Berlin.

With this expansion, we are now immediately available in person, on-site in Berlin to provide all of our consulting services for environmental analysis as well as sample logistics. Our fast and reliable sample logistics ensure that the process goes smoothly right from the beginning. Furthermore, it also ensures that your samples are not only processed comprehensively and with a high quality standard, but also fast and on-time.

If you have any questions about our location in Berlin or the GBA Group’s expanded range of services in the field of environmental analysis, then feel free to contact:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Mr Michael Naggert
Tel.: +49 (0)30 82099 62-29
Mobile: +49 (0)173 8894189


About Glasses Frames, Fashion Jewelry, and Zippers

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Group 

Have you ever had an allergic reaction to glasses frames or an item of jewelry? If not, then you are probably not among those who react to nickel. The produc­tion of jewelry, glasses frames, buttons, and zippers with alloys releasing nickel has been declining significantly in recent years due to nickel dermatitis (see the Feb 2018 NL). In addition to their potential to trigger allergic reactions, metallic nickel is also suspected of being carcinogenic.[1] That’s why lawmakers have issued monitoring requirements in various laws and regulations. However, as a trace element, nickel is important for plants, microorganisms, and for humans as well.

Nickel – A Chemical Element 

Nickel is a chemical element with symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It belongs to the transition metals and is part of group 10 of the periodic table, along with palladium and platinum. In nature, it generally occurs in the form of sulfides. Nickel is found in the Earth’s crust at a rate of about 0.008%.

The amounts in the soil range from <20 mg/kg all the way to >100mg/kg, though the latter is generally due to anthropogenic influences. The northern German low-lying regions contain substantially less than the western or sou­thern regions of Germany. A map with an overview of the nickel amounts from 1999 was published by the Institute for Regional Geography in Germany in 2003.[2]

The emissions originate from the metal industry, which lead to soil contami­nation within a locally confined area. Nickel generally ends up in the air with fine particulate matter due to incineration processes. The largest contributors to these emissions are when fossil fuels are burned for transportation and in power plants, but waste incineration plants as well. On January 1st, 2013, a target value for the annual mean value of nickel in air was set at 20 nanograms per cubic meter of air (ng/m3) throughout Europe. This target value was exceeded a total of 13 times at four measurement stations located near industrial areas since 2007. In urban and rural regions, the values are <2 ng/m3 on average.

In acidic or sandy soils, the availability of nickel that is especially bound in particulate matter increases and thus can easily end up in the groundwater.

Since one must always assume that emissions are local in the case of nickel, these emissions can only be detected through continuous and widespread tes­ting. These circumstances are accounted for by the inclusion of nickel as a parameter in several German federal regulations, such as those regulating se­wage sludge (AbfKlärV), soil protection and contaminated sites (BBodSchV), landfills (DepV), as well as the LAGA M20 TR soil regulation.

As a metal, nickel is only required in relatively small amounts. The current world­wide demand is about 2.1 million tons annually. The largest producers are the Philippines, Russia, Australia, Canada, New Caledonia, and Indonesia.[3] The main application is in the production of stainless steels and nickel alloys. In addition to corrosion resistance, the hardness, durability, and ductility of the steels are elevated. The stainless steel V2A, for example, contains 8% nickel.

The GBA Group has been conducting tests in a wide range of matrices for several decades, so we are capable of answering any questions that you may have about this or any other topic in the field of environmental or food analysis. If you have questions, then please feel free to contact your individual customer service representative at the GBA Group, or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Mr Dr. Sven Steinhauer
Tel.: +49 (0)40 797172-0


[1]; Accessed on 14 June 2018
[2] Jörg Völkel, Bodenbelastung durch Schwermetalle, Nationalatlas Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Relief, Boden und Wasser, Herausgegeben von Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, 2003, 12-113

Accessed on 14 June 2018


Dimethoate in Cherries – French Ban on Imports

by Mareen Lehmann, GBA Group

In the last two years, France has banned the import of cherries from both EU Member States and other countries where the use of pesticides with dimethoate is permitted. The ban is valid for Austria, Croatia, Romania, Canada, and the USA. Other EU Member States may continue to export their cherries to France since the use of dimethoate is already prohibited in those countries. The countries have to provide evidence of this in the form of an official letter from the responsible authorities.[1] The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has addressed this matter by publishing an official announcement on its website designed to serve as an attestation for the French authorities or business partners. With this announcement, the BVL confirms that since 2016 no pesticides containing dimethoate have been permitted in Germany for use on cherries. After this decision, there was no transitional phase or grace period to use remaining stocks.[2]

The GBA Group has been conducting pesticide analysis for many years, on both food and environmental samples, and we are gladly willing and able to serve as your expert partner on this topic. Please feel free to contact your individual customer service representative at GBA or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Ms Stefanie Riechers
Tel.: +49 (0)40 797172-0


[1] Deutscher Fruchthandelsverband e.V., Newsletter „aktuell“ 5/2018,
Accessed on 1 June 2018
[2] Fachmeldungen/2018/2018_06_01_Fa_Dimethoat_Kirschen.html, Accessed on 1 June 2018


Expanded Laboratory Site in Hameln

Within four months, the GBA Group renovated its lab site in Hameln so that we can provide you with even better service. With the completion of the renovations in May, GBA can now respond to customer demands even better than before. A completely self-sufficient department has now emerged in Hameln, operating under cleanroom conditions. The new facilities are separate from the standard analyses on site in order to guarantee that contamination will not occur.

With this expansion, we have been able to optimize processes and are now capable of processing allergen tests (ELISA and PCR methods) even faster. Furthermore, it is now possible to analyze larger series for each parameter. With express analyses using methods such as ELISA and PCR, the results are available after just three days.

Our employees are by your side in all matters. If you have any questions about this topic, we are gladly available to answer them at any time.

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Mr Muharrem Persen
Tel. +49 (0)5151 / 98 49-0


Superfoods & Market Trends Series: Moringa

by Julia Bartels, GBA Group

The moringa tree is known by several different names, such as the horseradish tree, drumstick tree, and even the “miracle tree,” although its botanical name is Moringa oleifera. The name “horseradish tree” is derived from the glucosinolates that are present in the tree. The glucosinolates lend the roots a scent that is similar to horseradish and gives the leaves a sharp and spicy flavor, which is why the English colonial rulers initially used the edible roots as a substitute for horseradish. The moringa tree originally comes from the Himalayan region in northwest India. During the colonial period, the English colonists in India found out about the tree and therefore it spread out to other British colonies. Nowadays, the moringa tree can be found worldwide in the tropics and subtropics (especially in African, Arabic, and southeast Asian countries, as well as on the Caribbean islands).[1]

One special characteristic of the moringa tree is the speed of its growth. It can grow up to 30 centimeters per month and reach a height of eight meters within its first year. This phenomenon is associated with the growth hormone and antioxidant called zeatin, which the moringa tree contains in large amounts, allowing it to grow at such an unusually fast pace. The moringa tree’s characteristic appearance includes a short, swollen trunk and long, hanging pods that look like drumsticks, which is why it is also called the drumstick tree. Furthermore, the moringa tree exhibits many branches and twigs that are endowed with oval leaves and cream-colored blossoms. The edible blossoms contain seeds that can be used for producing oil and powder. The oil that is gained from the moringa tree can be used in a wide range of applications, such as food, lubricant, as a base for the production of ointments, soaps, cosmetics, or even as biodiesel. It is also important to highlight the way the powder is utilized. In its countries of origin, this powder is used for processing drinking water. In the powder, i.e. in the seeds, there is a natural protein flocculant that can bind dirt particles in the water and precipitate them.[1,2,3]

Since almost all parts of the tree can be utilized and because they exhibit a high density of nutrients, the moringa tree – as previously mentioned – is also called the miracle tree.[1] Due to its particularly high density of nutrients, moringa is not only used as a dietary supplement, but is also highly valued as a traditional remedy in many countries. However, so far no substantiated evidence has been obtained in scientific studies to support the theory that moringa can cure diseases.[3] Nevertheless, moringa is often described as being the most nutrient-rich plant in the world. In total, it supposedly combines 90 different nutrients within it and is particularly rich in proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. According to statements made by producers, moringa purportedly far surpasses our domestic fruit and vegetables in terms of nutritional content. However, these statements are derived from comparisons between dried moringa powder and fresh fruit or vegetables, and the producers use 100 g dried powder as a basis. Yet the amount of moringa powder that is usually consumed per serving is about 10 g. If the nutritional content is calculated based on the usual serving sizes, then the values are no longer higher than fresh fruit or vegetables.[1,4] Ultimately, it can be said that moringa has a wide spectrum of nutrients and represents a nutrient-rich alternative within your diet, however, it is still just a “normal” food product and not a substitute for a balanced diet.

The GBA Group has taken up the task of informing you about market trends in the food industry. If you have questions about this or any other topic, we will gladly assist you. Please feel free to contact your individual customer service representative or:
GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Ms Julia Bartels
Tel.: +49 (0)40 797172-0


Accessed on 6 June 2018
Accessed on 6 June 2018

Accessed on 6 June 2018
Accessed on 6 June 2018

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We try to research the content of our newsletters without errors and as thoroughly as possible for your benefit. If the statements contained within are nevertheless incomplete or contain errors, or if any changes have occurred since the date of publication, then the editors and publishers bear no liability.

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