Introducing SPEX Speaks Science Podcast


SPEX Speaks Science is the bi-weekly podcast presented by SPEX CertiPrep. Hosted by Senior Applications Scientist, Patricia Atkins, SPEX Speaks Science looks to deliver informative content to the scientific community. SPEX CertiPrep has been servicing the scientific community since 1954. We are a leading manufacturer of Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) and Calibration Standards for Analytical Spectroscopy and Chromatography.

Episode 1: History of Pesticides

Abstract: Pesticides are now a daily part of our world, from the anti-bacterial soaps we use to the commercial pesticides that are applied to our food. Despite the fact that the chemical age of pesticides has just skyrocketed in the last decade, the use of pesticides has been thousands of years in development.

Join SPEX CertiPrep as we look at the history of pesticides, the development of modern pesticides and how those pesticides are applied and regulated. We will examine the genesis of the chemical pesticide movement and explore the regulation, approval and application of modern pesticides and take a look into the future of pesticide management.

Click here to view Episode 1

The Perfect Brew-EPA Pesticide Mixes


Know Your EPA Method? We Have the Pesticide Standards Just for You!

SPEX CertiPrep offers Pesticide Standards for various EPA Methods including Drinking Water, Municipal and Industrial Waste, Environmental Samples, and more!
We help streamline your testing process by creating pre-made standards to suit your needs. Several stock pesticide mixes are readily available, along with over 4,000 individual components. Custom pesticide blends can also be manufactured to your specifications.


We Found the Perfect Witches’ Brew Recipe to Make
Your Halloween Even Spookier!

Tired of the same old cider and hot cocoa recipes? Try the bewitching brew ideas to liven up your celebration. And best of all, there is more than one recipe to choose from!
Source: Farmer’s Almanac

Check Out the “Clean 15”

EGW (Environmental Working Group) puts out the list of “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables each year.

These 15 fruits and vegetables makes up the “Clean 15” list because they are the least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues.

You can access the Clean 15 list on the EGW website at

Pesticide-Clean-15-Infographic 2018-01


SPEX CertiPrep • 203 Norcross Avenue • Metuchen, NJ 08840
732.549.7144 •

Pesticides in Wine and Beer

SPEX CertiPrep Application Note: Examination of Pesticides in Wine, Beer and their Constituent Products Using High-Throughput Techniques to Maximize Extraction & Efficiency.

There are hundreds of commercial pesticides in use in industrial and private agriculture. Concern over the health effects of residual pesticides on fruits and vegetables has led to increased testing of these products to determine the levels of pesticides on produce when it goes to market.

In this study, commercial red wine and beer samples were examined for their pesticide concentrations. In addition to the examination of the finished alcoholic beverage, the constituent agriculture products of wine and beer production (grains, malts hops and wine grapes) were also examined to determine the levels of pesticides found in those products. The sample preparation and extraction process efficiency and recovery were examined by processing samples using manual versus high-throughput techniques. The QuEChERS method was used to process a greater number of samples in a shorter period of time than other extraction methods.

Read the full application note here

SPEX CertiPrep • 732.549.7144 •

Here is the “Dirty Dozen”

The EGW (Environmental Working Group) has released the list of the 12 fruits and vegetables containing the highest pesticide residue levels.

You can view the list of the “Dirty Dozen” as well as various other resources on the EGW website at

Pesticide-Residue-Infographic-Dirty Dozen 2108-01

SPEX CertiPrep • 203 Norcross Avenue • Metuchen, NJ 08840
732.549.7144 •

Introducing Industrial Hygiene Filters!

SPEX CertiPrep offers a range of matrix-matched standards, specifically designed for the needs of various types of industrial hygiene and air monitoring programs.

The trace metals on mixed cellulose ester filters are specifically formulated to meet testing requirements such as National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 7300 Series Methods, ASTM Standard D7035, ISO Standard 15202-1 and 15202-2, and CEN (EN) Standard 13890.

Trace metals on quartz filters are designed to meet the testing requirements of EPA IO-3 and are also available as stock products.

Custom spiked filters are available upon request.

Click here for our App Note: An Overview of International Methods and Regulations for Airborne Metal Particulate.

Complete details here.

SPEX CertiPrep • 203 Norcross Avenue • Metuchen, NJ 08840
732.549.7144 • CRMMarketing@spex.com

Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer awareness is an effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on symptoms and treatment. At SPEX CertiPrep, we support the hope that greater knowledge will lead to earlier detection of breast cancer, which is associated with higher long-term survival rates, and that money raised for breast cancer will produce a reliable, permanent cure.

Awareness needs to be ongoing so we are putting pink in your lab.

Every US web order in the month of October will receive a free pink vial rack. The pink vial rack will brighten up your bench space and be a reminder to take the steps to plan and detect breast cancer in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.

Did you know?

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime
  • In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer
  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations


How Much Lightning Is In Your Morning Jolt?

How Much Lightning Is In Your Morning Jolt: A Study of the Concentration of Caffeine and Other Organic Coffee Marker Molecules in Fast Food and Home-Brewed Coffee

Coffee is a major world commodity with 7 million metric tons of coffee produced annually. Roasted coffee beans can contain well over a thousand different compounds. In most cases, the most important of those chemicals are the flavor compounds (i.e. chlorogenic acids, polyphenols, terpenes, etc.) and caffeine. Other compounds, such as methyl cafestol and homostachydrine, can be important in fingerprinting the authenticity and adulteration of coffee and coffee species.

This study created chemical profiles of coffee around targeted groups of chemical markers in coffee to determine: caffeine content (and decaffeination by-products), coffee or species authenticity, and adulteration and safety of coffee using LC/MS. Brewed regular roast and decaffeinated coffee was purchased from multiple chain fast food restaurants, coffee purveyors and convenience stores.

Samples of regular home brewed and pod brewed regular coffee were also tested for caffeine content, authenticity and flavor markers. Chemical profiling of some coffee samples showed misrepresentation of coffee species in some brewed coffees as well as the presence of higher than expected levels of caffeine in some samples. Also present were chemicals which indicated signs of either degraded coffee flavor or potential adulteration.

View our study here.

SPEX CertiPrep • 203 Norcross Avenue • Metuchen, NJ 08840
732.549.7144 •

What’s in Your Chocolate?

Cocoa plants are native to tropical climates with high levels of humidity and rainfall. This climate increases the need for pesticide application to protect the cocoa bean crops. Heavy metals from pesticide and fertilizer applications can accumulate in the soil and add to the possible accumulation of those metals in the cocoa beans.

This study examined the elemental composition of several types of chocolate products from chocolate liquor to milk and dark chocolate bars.

Click here for the complete app note ‘Analysis of Elemental Content in Commercial Chocolate Bars’:

You can also view our infographic for facts about chocolate

SPEX CertiPrep • 203 Norcross Avenue • Metuchen, NJ 08840732.549.7144 •

Spicy Facts: Cinnamon and Black Pepper

Food adulteration and counterfeiting continues to grow as a worldwide issue of food safety and economic concern. Spices are one of the most commonly adulterated and counterfeited agricultural products in the US. Our previous study determined extensive elemental and heavy metals contamination and adulteration in spices. Many of our spice products were identified as possibly being highly adulterated or contaminated by metals. In our follow-up organic study, we focused on the organic markers and toxic organic compounds in our common spices and botanicals (black pepper and cinnamon) in various forms (i.e. spices, teas, condiments, and supplements) to determine if these products appeared to be adulterated from an organic compound standpoint as well as an elemental standpoint.

Cryogenic grinding and microwave extraction were employed in sample processing. Samples were extracted for the primary and secondary marker compounds native to each spice group and for any potentially toxic organic compounds (dyes, preservatives, pesticides, and industrial residual chemicals). The concentration and identity of compounds were compared across the groupings to cited concentration references for each marker or compound. Low concentrations of critical markers were found in low cost spice and botanical samples indicating potential adulteration. Samples that were previously suspect by ICP-MS examination were confirmed to be adulterated or economically compromised by reduced or absent concentration of these critical primary and secondary marker compounds. High levels of potentially toxic chemicals were also found in some of the previously suspect spice and spice product samples.

Click here for the complete app note ‘Identifying Counterfeiting, Adulteration & Contamination of Spices’:

You can also view our infographic for facts about spices

SPEX CertiPrep • 203 Norcross Avenue • Metuchen, NJ 08840
732.549.7144 •