Mylnefield Research Services -
Events and News
Fruit Logistica 2014
MRS will once again be attending Fruit Logistica in Berlin on February 5th to 7th. This year we will be co-located with the UK Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (Hall 8.2 Stand A-07)that will be showcasing the best of UK fruit and potatoes. We look forward to meeting old customers and new at this years event.
FDA Approval for Mylnefield Lipid Analysis
Mylnefield Lipid Analysis is delighted to report that its facilities for lipid analysis have been approved for GMP work by the US FDA. This complements similar approval from the UK MHRA for both GCP and GMP analysis. We are now one of the few laboratories in the world able to undertake specialist lipid analysis that is approved by both European and US authorities.
Fatty Acids and Lipids - Chemistry, Biology and Analysis Course (2014) - PLACES STILL AVAILABLE FOR 2014
MRS announce that the 2014; Fatty Acids and Lipids - Chemistry, Biology and Analysis Course, will take place between the 27th and 28th February 2014, at The James Hutton Institute, Dundee, Scotland. The course of lectures will be given by Dr Charlie Scrimgeour and Dr Bill Christie MBE, and is designed especially for those working with lipids (fats and oils) in the food, oleochemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in academia. The course will provide an introduction to the chemistry, physics, biochemistry and analysis of lipid molecules. Programme details and application forms are available on our website at http://www.lipid.co.uk/booking-request.asp. Please contact David Somerville by email (email@example.com) or by phone on +44 1382 568568 with any additional queries.
MRS Awarded Agricultural Business of the Year
MRS were presented with an award for the Best Agricultural Business of the Year at the Courier Business Awards held in St Andrews on the 1st November. MRS were also commended in the Life Science catagory. We would like to thank all our customers as well as the staff of both MRS and the James Hutton Institute for their continued support.
American and Canadian Science Magazines Interview Head of Mylnefield Isotope Signatures
Once again Prof Meier-Augenstein,s experience and expertise in the field of stable isotopes and their application to the provenancing (and authenticity control) of foods resulted in him being approached and interviewed by two science journalists writing for the American Scientist and The Scientist, respectively. Wolfram''''s comments can be found in the articles A Difference Kind of CSI and You Are What You Eat.
RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP FORMED TO VALIDATE BIOCONTROL SOLUTIONS
On the 1 April 2013 three parties; agricultural, horticultural and environmental technology company Mylnefield Research Services Ltd (MRS), specialist soil fertility and crop nutrition company PenDragon Proactive Nutrition and biological crop inputs company Agrinos AS, joined forces in a research partnership to test products for use in sustainable agricultural intensification.
The complete research programme is designed to evaluate the effects of Agrinos products on plant growth and health, with individual formulations assessed for their ability to control of a broad range of important plant pests and pathogens; increase plant vigour, growth and yield; or influence plant – soil interactions; soil health, environmental impact and other beneficial effects.
In the first instance, MRS will be undertaking 16 separate research and development projects to validate Agrinos products on a broad range of crops including cereals, potatoes and soft fruit from its base in Dundee. Grains, tubers and fruit will also be assessed for nutritional content and implications for food quality.
MRS is in a unique position to deliver such a comprehensive range of research services due to the breadth and depth of scientific disciplines and expertise resident at the James Hutton Institute.
In 2011, MRS became an affiliate of the then newly created James Hutton Institute, a leading European research institute addressing the global challenges of food security, sustainable agricultural intensification, climate change and land use.
The Director of the James Hutton Institute, Professor Iain Gordon said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Agrinos to test new products that have the potential to enhance food security whilst at the same time reducing the environmental impact of food production. Science-industry partnerships of this type are the key to the development of innovation that has an impact on the economy and the livelihoods of farmers across the globe.”
Oslo-based Agrinos is a green technology company committed to improving the productivity and sustainability of modern agriculture. Agrinos’ range of High Yield Technology (“HYT”) products help farmers maximise economic yield by increasing crop productivity while reducing environmental footprint. Agrinos biological products are designed to improve plant nutrient uptake, stimulate growth and improve tolerance to environmental stress. Building on the success of live microbial products that fix nitrogen and promote plant growth, next generation materials are being evaluated by MRS for potential application as biological control agents.
Neil Fuller, of PenDragon Proactive Nutrition was instrumental in bringing Agrinos and MRS together and will play a pivotal role in coordinating trials in the UK. He said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to develop technology for the future. The ability to apply beneficial microbes to feed and protect the growing plant, adds a new and dynamic dimension to conventional agronomy. The Agrinos promise of being able to apply a live biological material that boosts yield, improves quality and fights infection is one that has genuine value in global agriculture, and the research conducted by MRS and the James Hutton Institute is vital in realising this potential.”
Dr Jonathan Snape, Commercial Director of MRS said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with a company at the forefront of developing scientifically proven crop protection and crop nutrition products that will support sustainable crop production – higher yields, less impact. Such products have the potential to benefit global food production systems and the environment.”
Notes for editors:
Mylnefield Research Services Ltd is a leading technology company providing products and services to the agricultural, horticultural and environmental sectors. Its principal activity is innovation converting scientific knowledge, developed at the James Hutton Institute, into commercial products and services in partnership with industry. For more information on Mylnefield Research Services Ltd, please contact us on +44 (0) 1382 568568 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.mrsltd.com.
The James Hutton Institute is a world-leading, multi-site scientific organisation encompassing a distinctive range of integrated strengths in land, crop, waters, environmental and socio-economic science. It undertakes research for customers including the Scottish and UK Governments, the EU and other organisations worldwide. The institute has a staff of nearly 600 and 125 PhD students.
For more information on the James Hutton Institute please visit our website (www.hutton.ac.uk) or contact Lorraine Wakefield, Content Manager, James Hutton Institute, Mobile: +44 (0) 7964 777906 or Tel: +44 (0) 1382 568749 (direct line) or Email: email@example.com.
PenDragon Proactive Nutrition is a privately owned independent consultancy group, with over 30 years of experience in the development of nutritional and micro-biological materials for use in agriculture, horticulture and human health care. More information can be found on the PenDragon website www.talking2plants.co.uk or contact Neil Fuller on (+44) 07887 743035.
Agrinos is a green technology company committed to improving the productivity and sustainability of modern agriculture. Agrinos’ range of High Yield Technology (“HYT”) products helps farmers to practice profitable agriculture by providing increased crop productivity, improved efficiency of conventional fertilizer and a reduced environmental footprint.
Certified as organic and based on Agrinos’ proprietary technology, the HYT products provide benefits by strengthening the soil-based microbial ecosystem, stimulating crop development at key points in the growth cycle and boosting natural plant resistance to pathogens and threats. With solutions for a variety of crop categories, the technology comprising the HYTproducts has demonstrated its value in third-party trials in key agricultural regions worldwide.
Founded in 2009, Oslo-based Agrinos has more than 200 employees and has grown to include activities in Mexico, the USA, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Ghana, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the People’s Republic of China. Agrinos enjoys financial backing from a number of leading international investors and has a strong management team led by its chairman, Dr Thorleif Enger.
For more information on Agrinos AS please visit our website at www.agrinos.com.
Great British Bred Big Ben receives Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society
We are delighted to report that the Royal Horticultural Society has recently awarded our blackcurrant variety Big Ben its presitigious Award of Garden Merit. Big Ben is a high yielding variety withe exceptionally sweet and large fruit suitable for the fresh market. It is marketed in the UK and South Africa by Winterwood Farms Ltd. Big Ben, together with Ben Connan, joins an impressive list of Great British Bred varieties bred by MRS, including the raspberry varieties Glen Ample and Glen Magna, the strawberry varieties Symphony and Rhapsody, the potato Vales Emerald and the swede Brora.
Investors in People Silver Award
Mylnefield Research Services Lrd were recently assessed by Investors in People and we are delighted to report that we were judged to have met the criteria for a Silver Award, following on from our Bronze Award in 2009. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of all our staff and acknowledgement of the investments we have made to ensure that we can offer an excellent service to our customers whilst being a great place to work.
Head of Mylnefield Isotope Signatures interviewed for PRI’s The World
Owing to his reputation of being one of the few internationally recognised experts in the use of stable isotope signatures of human tissue for human provenancing, Prof. Meier-Augenstein was interviewed by Ari Daniel Shapiro for “Strands of Evidence: Hair Forensics”, a special report about forensic stable isotope analysis of human hair that was aired on PRI’s The World. The story went on air on The World this Wednesday (17 Oct 2012). One can also find a sneak peep of the story on the website of The World’s partner programme NOVA Science Now.
Dr Helen Kemp approved by FIRMS as a lead forensic practitioner.
Dr Helen Kemp (Senior Research Fellow and Lab Manager of the Stable Isotope Facility in Invergowrie) has been approved as a Lead Forensic Practitioner in the field of stable isotope forensic analysis of drugs by the Forensic Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (FIRMS) Network. As a result, Mylnefield Isotope Signatures are now formally recognised to meet the required standard of evidentiary reliability for the forensic examination of isotope signatures in two different classes of physical evidence. Dr Kemp''''s certification as approved Lead Forensic Practitioner for the forensic examination of isotope ratios in drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy compliments Prof. Meier-Augenstein''''s earlier approval as Lead Forensic Practitioner the forensic examination of isotope signatures in human bone, teeth, hair and nails. The FIRMS Regulatory Framework for Approval includes the following elements; organisation, methods, underlying science, individuals, case work, and quality management. FIRMS is certified to the international quality standard ISO9001 for the approval of forensic practitioners in the field of isotope forensics.
Two International Conferences in 10 Days
Upon invitation, Prof Meier-Augenstein attended the 2012 Joint European Stable Isotope User Meeting (JESIUM 2012) as well as the 11th Internal Isotope Symposium (IIS 2012). The JESIUM 2012 conference was organized and hosted by the Environmental Research Centre Leipzig (UFZ Leipzig) and lasted from 3 to 7 Sep. This international conference is held only every 4 years and attracts scientists involved in fundamental and applied stable isotope research ranging from archaelogy, climate recontruction and hydrology to ecology, pharmacology and food science. Here, Wolfram gave a Keynote on “Ten Years of forensic stable isotope analysis: the good, the bad and the ugly” while also convening and chairing Session 9 on “Food authenticity and isotope forensics”. IIS 2012 was organized by Sanofi-Aventis (a global healthcare leader) and this year took place from 9 to 13 Sep in Heidelberg. Wolfram gave the invited opening lecture for Session 12 “Non-Pharmaceutical Application of Labelled Compounds”. The title of his lecture was “Stable Isotope Forensics: provenancing Pharmaceuticals, Drugs and People”.
Record trading performance for MRS Ltd
Mylnefield Research Services (MRS) Ltd, the technology and innovation company that translates scientific research at the James Hutton Institute into commercial products and services has announced record trading results.
In the financial year 2011/2012 MRS Ltd achieved a record turnover in excess of £3m, enhancing profitability and enabling the company to make a charitable gift of £300,000 to the James Hutton Institute. This Gift Aid will enable the Institute to further invest in its research programmes and facilities.
MRS Managing Director, Dr Nigel Kerby said the trading performance had been achieved despite the current difficult financial climate.
Dr Kerby said: “We understand that this money will make a significant financial contribution to the recently announced purchase of land at Berryhill Farm in Angus, extending the scope of our Centre for Sustainable Cropping.
“MRS is delighted to help with this land purchase that will support research of the James Hutton Institute into sustainable crop production and land use.”
Professor Iain Gordon, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, congratulated MRS Ltd on its record performance. He said: “The translation of our science into new crop varieties that meet the demands of an ever-changing world is fundamental to the James Hutton Institute’s mission.
“We are very fortunate to have a strong relationship with the farming and food industry through our commercial subsidiary MRS Ltd.”
Notes for Editors:
The James Hutton Institute was formed in 2011 by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen and SCRI, the Scottish Crop Research Institute based in Invergowrie near Dundee, Scotland. The Institute encompasses a distinctive range of integrated, world-class strengths in land, crop, water, environmental and socio-economic science. It undertakes a wide range of research for customers including the Scottish and UK Governments, the EU and other organisations worldwide. The institute has a staff of nearly 600 and 125 PhD students.
The Institute organises its research through seven principal themes: Safeguarding Natural Capital, Enhancing Crop Productivity and Utilisation, Delivering Sustainable Production Systems, Controlling Weeds, Pests and Diseases, Managing Catchments and Coasts, Realising Land’s Potential and Nurturing Vibrant and Low Carbon Communities.
The Institute takes its name from the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment scientist, James Hutton, who is widely regarded as the founder of modern geology and who was also an experimental farmer and agronomist.
Mylnefield Research Services Ltd was founded in 1989 and has been trading since 1992. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the James Hutton Institute and is responsible for commercialising the intellectual property and expertise of the Institute.
More information from: Lorraine Wakefield, Content Manager, The James Hutton Institute, Tel: 01382 568749 (direct line) or 0844 928 5428 (switchboard), Email: Lorraine.Wakefield@hutton.ac.uk
The Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science embraces Stable Isotope Forensics
Owing to their international reputation in the field of Stable Isotope Forensics, Prof Wolfram Meier-Augenstein and Dr Helen Kemp were asked to contribute to an updated version of the Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science. A vital reference work for all professionals working in the field of forensic science, the Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science “provides essential information for forensic scientists, doctors, practicing and academic lawyers, paralegals, police, crime scene investigators, analytical chemists, behavioural scientists, and toxicologists”. Between them Prof Meier-Augenstein and Dr Kemp contributed 4 chapters to this reference work by covering various aspects of forensic Stable Isotope Analysis: 1. General Principles and Limitations; 2. Bone and Teeth; 3. Hair and Nails; 4. Drugs. Wiley have recently published these 4 new chapters and they are now available on-line from the Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science website.
A "Full-House" of stable isotope presentations at EGU 2012
Prof Meier-Augenstein and Dr Helen Kemp attended the annual conference and general assembly of the European Geoscience Union (EGU) in Vienna (22 – 28 April 2012) where on 5 posters they presented recent research findings ranging from the first detailed isoscapes (= isotopic maps) of Scottish freshwater to stable isotope signatures of methamphetamine synthesised from over-the-counter cold medication. Prof Meier-Augenstein also convened and chaired session IG4 on “Isotopes and Isoscapes as Tool for Forensic Provenancing”. The EGU general assembly is one of the largest conferences of its kind, this year attracting 11,275 scientists from 95 countries who gave 13,528 presentations between them.
Good Practice Guide for IRMS: Mylnefield Isotope Signatures play a key role.
Prof Wolfram Meier-Augenstein and Dr Helen Kemp of Mylnefield Isotope Signatures have been part of an eight members strong team that produced the recently released Good Practice Guide for Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry. This Guide was commissioned and published by the Laboratory of the Government Chemist with its production funded in part by the UK National Measurement System. The Guide is available for download from the website of the FIRMS Network or the National Measurement System’s Chemical and Biological Metrology website.
Good Manufacturing Practice
In November 2011, Mylnefield Lipid Analysis were inspected by the UK MHRA. Following this inspection we were delighted to receive our certificate of GMP Compliance. We are very interested in meeting with companies requiring their products to be tested to GMP standards.
Stable isotope signatures help tracing designer drug manufacture
Professor Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, head of laboratory at Mylnefield Isotope Signatures, has recently been involved in a collaboration with scientists at the University of Strathclyde to develop innovative new methods of tracing designer drugs. These are drugs designed to give a ‘legal high’ by mimicking the effects of illegal drugs such as amphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy.
Although they are potentially dangerous, many of these materials have not yet been classified as illegal drugs. This new class of drugs are difficult to detect with drug tests currently in use. Stable isotope analysis is being investigated as a corroborative method for tracing the source of the raw materials used to make these designer drugs and for providing information about the synthetic route by which they are being made.
The project was presented at the recent 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which was held in Denver from 28 August to 1 September 2011. A more detailed summary can be found here at the University of Strathclyde’s Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures in TSB Consortium
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures is pleased to announce our participation in a successful Technology Strategy Board (TSB) consortium.
Led by Protium MS Ltd, a leading supplier of equipment for stable isotope analysis and including Mylnefield Research Services and the STFC Space Science and Technology Department, the consortium was set up to develop state of the art portable equipment for stable isotope analysis.
Stable isotope ratio analysis is recognized as a standard technique for identifying adulterated foodstuffs. However applications of the technique in the food and drink industry are limited by the need to send samples back to a laboratory for analysis.
The development of laser based isotope systems has made it possible to perform isotope analysis in field situations. However current isotope laser technology cannot analyse peak shaped signals that arise in applications where gas chromatographic separation is required to investigate individual components with the same level of precision achievable with isotope ratio mass spectrometry based systems. The STFC Space Science & Technology Department has now developed and patented a laser isotope ratiometer with the ability to carry out isotope analysis over short time periods, typically in the millisecond range. This allows, for the first time, a laser system not based on CRDS technology to perform isotope analysis on CO2 peaks generated from chromatographically separated compounds.
As well as Professor Meier-Augenstein’s technical expertise in chromatographic systems for stable isotope analysis, Mylnefield Isotope Signatures will provide the consortium with commercial experience as an end-user of stable isotope equipment.
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures in the news.
Following up from our previous news article, we are delighted to announce that respected science magazine of the American Geological Institute, EARTH Magazine has published in its October issue of Vol. 56 (2011) a feature length article on stable isotope analysis and Mylnefield Isotope Signatures. Follow the link for the on-line version of the article that provides an excellent summary of what we do and why it matters to you!
CSI: Crime Scene Isotopes
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures were delighted by an unusual request for information that Professor Meier-Augenstein received recently – namely a request from researcher Jon Wellner at the well known television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The research team from CSI are responsible for making sure that the show keeps up to date with the latest developments in forensic science and for making sure that the science is realistically depicted on screen.
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures are proud to announce that Jon was referred to our Head of Laboratory, Professor Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, as a ‘world leader in forensic isotope research’ to help them with their research.
Stable isotope analysis is a cutting edge technique which has a range of applications in forensic science. For example it has been used to support a police investigation into an illegal people trafficking route used by a Vietnamese organised crime group.
Stable Isotopes help unravel the mysteries of coral
Prof Wolfram Meier-Augenstein and Dr Helen Kemp of Mylnefield Isotope Signatures, were recently involved in a major collaboration of internationally recognised marine biology institutes, including the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, the Marine Environment Research Centre in La Spezia, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France and the University of Plymouth Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre.
The aim of the collaboration was to study the complex food chains and symbioses associated with temperate coral species. By allowing researchers to trace the movement of carbon and nitrogen containing organic compounds through the marine environment, stable isotope profiles provide a uniquely effective tool for unravelling these complex food webs.
Corals are one of the principal marine calcifying organisms, converting dissolved mineral ions into solid calcium carbonate. They play a major role in regulating global carbon cycles and are a major carbon sink. As corals grow over thousands of years, their skeletons build up a record of their environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, CO2 concentration and nutrients). This ‘environmental archive’ provides important information for modelling the past, present and future of the global climate.
The paper was published by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). The abstract can be found here on the ASLO website.
Head of Mylnefield Isotope Signatures awarded position as Visiting Professor at RGU
Head of Mylnefield Isotope Signatures and JHI Principal Scientist, Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein takes up a position as Visiting Professor within the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences at Robert Gordon University (Aberdeen) from 1st June 2011. Dr Meier-Augenstein joins a prestigious team of forensic practitioners and analytical scientists in the Environmental and Forensic Sciences Research group at the School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences and is already involved in the supervision of a joint MSc and a joint PhD project.
Dr Meier-Augenstein is well known for applying knowledge gained from his fundamental and basic research and his expertise in Stable Isotope Forensics to criminal and environmental case work.
Dr Jonathan Snape, MRS''s commercial director commented: "I am delighted by Dr Meier-Augenstein''s appointment, which is well deserved and clearly recognises the leading nature of our stable isotope research and its application to food authenticity and forensic science."
JHI Principal Scientist and head of MIS to join Science Advisory Board of Oritain Global Ltd
Oritain Global Ltd is an internationally operating company based in New Zealand and provides a certification service for food provenance / food authenticity of regional speciality foods. Oritain have recently asked Dr Meier-Augenstein to join the Oriain Science Board (OSB) to advise Oritain on science matters relating to food provenancing, food authentication and other forensic applications.
The main function of the OSB is to critically assess the science offered to Oritain clients. In the food authentication branch Oritain offer "traceability control measures" and as such have a function as independent auditors of claims of authenticity and/or geographical origin. It is this scientific independence and excellence that we need the OSB to guarantee. The other main aspect is the ethical aspect. Although Oritain is a business, the shareholders believe that the company should profile itself as an ethical business and the integrity of the science and interests of both clients and general public should come before profit.
Dr Meier-Augenstein will join an advisory board whose membership already includes eminent scientists of renown such as (in alphabetical order): Prof. Jose Almirall (Florida International University, USA); A/Prof. Russell Frew (Otago University, NZ); Chairman A/Prof. Jurian Hoogewerff (Oritain Global Ltd.); Dr. Mark Woolfe (Ex-UK Food Standards Agency); Prof. Daniel Wunderlin (National University of Cordoba, Argentina).
Stable Isotopes at the European Geosciences Union
Mylnefield Isotope Signatures drew the eye of the blogosphere at the 2011 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Posters presented by Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein and Dr Helen Kemp on a wide range of forensic applications of stable isotope analysis, attracted great attention, especially from EARTH magazine. Read their blog article here.