Agilent instrument offers heavy metal analysis for hemp, other emerging crops
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has installed a new, advanced instrument to provide agricultural producers and processors with safety and marketability testing for hemp and other emerging crops. The instrument is the latest addition to IALR’s analytical chemistry lab.
“Our mission is to foster economic transformation across our region, and we are extremely excited to support the growth and profitability of agribusiness with our testing services,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director at IALR. “Our newest instrument will help us continue to offer the best testing services available in our region at affordable rates.”
The Agilent 7800 ICPMS will allow IALR to conduct the following testing services: heavy metal analysis for agricultural and soil samples, chemical/petrochemical analysis and pharmaceutical analysis. The equipment will also be available for academic and research applications. This elite testing instrument, especially valuable to the emerging hemp industry, offers high sensitivity and a wide dynamic range.
The enhanced testing capabilities offered by the Agilent 7800 ICPMS allow IALR to take another step toward becoming the Commonwealth’s premier agricultural lab. In May, IALR installed the Waters I-Class UPLC with the Xevo TQ-XS detector, another elite testing instrument. This previous piece of equipment was made possible by funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Work will continue to outfit the analytical testing lab to support producers and processors in the $91 billion agricultural industry, one of the Commonwealth’s largest industries.
Organic vegetable, tobacco, wine, hops, barley and industrial hemp are just some of the markets requiring testing for safety and marketability. The lab helps new farmers entering these potentially profitable sectors by providing accessible, affordable testing for pesticides, heavy metals, biological contaminants and more. The program aims to diversify the region’s agricultural outputs, promote agribusiness growth and increase agribusiness profitability.
One emerging market, industrial hemp, was recently approved through the 2018 Farm Bill signed into legislation at the federal level in December. The 2019 Virginia General Assembly session also passed legislation introduced by Delegate Danny Marshall in the House of Delegates and by Sen. Frank Ruff Jr. in the Senate. According to Marshall, approximately 1,000 farmers in the Commonwealth have registered as licensed industrial hemp growers with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and plan to grow more than 8,000 acres of the emerging crop. IALR is positioned to serve as a market catalyst for this industry by offering the highest quality testing services at an affordable rate. Industrial hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products, including health and natural food products, supplements, skin products, clothing, bioplastics, insulation, biofuel and more.