Quality Control

Science’s Quality Mission

Science’s quality mission is to deliver the highest quality life science and biochemical products as a leader in the market so that our customers can meet and achieve their scientific goals.

Science focuses on customers’ wants and needs, and we strive for continuous improvement in this Mission by maintaining our core values of: Quality First, People Matter, and Pursuit of Excellence.

Science’s Quality Control Practices

Receiving and Sampling

When we receive new raw material, we place it in quarantine – a clearly marked area separated from approved raw materials. Materials in this area are only handled by employees who gather samples for testing and cannot be used in production or sent to customers until all testing procedures and documentation is complete.

Any given shipment of raw material can contain several containers of the same product. To be sure all the material is up to our quality standards, samples are taken from every container. A composite sample is then blended from these samples an sent to a third party lab for analysis.

Each sample goes through several tests. Different products undergo different analytical methods based on the product’s chemical composition. A product’s specification sheet discloses which tests are performed and our minimum standards. These specifications are posted to the product page. In addition to specifications, every batch of every product has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) which can be looked up on the product page under the Third Party Analysis section. You can identify your product’s COA by finding the LOT # on your product label and comparing it to the report on product page.

Third Party Testing

Every batch of every product is sent out for analysis and verified by an independent third party laboratory both quantitatively (purity) and qualitatively (identity) as well as for contaminants. A list of testing techniques we used and a brief explanation of each is listed below:

HPLC – Purity & Identification

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is the method by which most products are tested for purity. This method is utilized when there is a single molecule or class of molecules that can be assayed for. HPLC relies on pumps to pass a pressurized liquid and a sample mixture through a column filled with adsorbent, leading to the separation of the sample components based on the strength of their attraction to the adsorbent, after which they are analyzed by shining light on the separate sample components as they come off the column.

Most organic compounds absorb a certain amount of light, so as they pass by the applied light beam, a detector can pick up how much light is absorbed. The detector also records the components’ retention time based on the order in which they come off the column. This output can then be analyzed based on peak area to determine the exact nature of the sample’s components or fed into another analytical machine for additional analysis as in the case of LC-MS.

NMR Spectroscopy – Structure & Identification

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) is a spectroscopic technique to observe local magnetic fields around atomic nuclei. As the fields are unique or highly characteristic to individual compounds, in modern organic chemistry practice, NMR spectroscopy is the definitive method to identify monomolecular organic compounds.

Samples are placed in a magnetic field and the NMR signal is produced by excitation of the nuclei sample with radio waves into nuclear magnetic resonance, which is detected with sensitive radio receivers. The intramolecular magnetic field around an atom in a molecule changes the resonance frequency, thus giving access to details of the electronic structure of a molecule and its individual functional groups.

TLC – Purity & Identification

Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC) is a chromatography technique used to separate non-volatile mixtures. We use this method for plant extracts made up of many different compounds. TLC is essentially a rudimentary 2-dimensional flash chromatography, except the mobile phase travels up a plate via capillary action instead of down a column. TLC is performed on a sheet of glass, plastic, or aluminium foil, which is coated with a thin layer of adsorbent material, usually silica gel, aluminium oxide (alumina), or cellulose. This layer of adsorbent is known as the stationary phase.

Thin-layer chromatography can be used to monitor the progress of a reaction, identify compounds present in a given mixture, and determine the purity of a substance.

ICP-MS – Heavy Metal Testing

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a type of mass spectrometry which is capable of detecting metals and several non-metals at concentrations as low as one part in 1015 (part per quadrillion, ppq) on non-interfered low-background isotopes. This is achieved by ionizing the sample with inductively coupled plasma and then using a mass spectrometer to separate and quantify those ions. We use this technique to test for toxic heavy metal contamination. All products undergo this test, specifically for arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead.

Microbiology Panel – Contaminant Testing

The microbiology panel involves ensuring products are below acceptable limits for common and dangerous microbes by culturing samples with growth media for pathogenic species. All products that are extracts of biological entities undergo this panel. The tests included in the panel are the Total Aerobic Plate Count, Yeast; Mold Count, E. Coli presence, S. Aureus presence, and Salmonella presence.

GC-MS – Contaminant Testing

Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is an analytical method that combines the features of gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify different substances within a mixed test sample. Applications of GC-MS include drug detection, fire investigation, environmental analysis, explosives investigation, and identification of unknown samples. GC-MS has been regarded as a “gold standard” for forensic substance identification because it is used to perform a 100% specific test, which positively identifies the presence of a particular substance. A nonspecific test merely indicates that any of several in a category of substances is present. Although a nonspecific test could statistically suggest the identity of the substance, this could lead to false positive identification.

We use GC-MS to test for residual solvents, pesticides and other contaminants in plant extracts.

Other Testing

Some products are difficult or impossible to test with the aforementioned methods. In these cases, alternative methods must be used. Those methods can include:

Gravimetry – Purity

Gravimetric analysis describes a set of methods used in analytical chemistry for the quantitative determination of an analyte (the ion being analyzed) based on its mass. The principle behind this type of analysis is that once an ion’s mass has been determined as a unique compound, that known measurement can then be used to determine the same analyte’s mass in a mixture, as long as the relative quantities of the other constituents are known.

UV-Vis Spectroscopy – Identification & Purity

Ultraviolet–Visible Spectroscopy (UV-Vis) refers to absorption spectroscopy or reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet-visible spectral region. This means it uses light in the visible and adjacent UV ranges. A beam of light is passed through a solution containing the analyte, and the transmitted wavelengths and intensities are used to measure how much of the light is absorbed and thus calculate the composition of the sample.

FTIR Spectroscopy – Identification & Purity

The goal of any absorption spectroscopy (FTIR, ultraviolet-visible (“UV-Vis”) spectroscopy, etc.) is to measure how well a sample absorbs light at each wavelength. The most straightforward way to do this, the “dispersive spectroscopy” technique, is to shine a monochromatic light beam at a sample, measure how much of the light is absorbed, and repeat for each different wavelength.

Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is a technique used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas. An FTIR spectrometer simultaneously collects high-spectral-resolution data over a wide spectral range. This confers a significant advantage over a dispersive spectrometer, which measures intensity over a narrow range of wavelengths at a time.

The term Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy originates from the fact that a Fourier transform (a mathematical process) is required to convert the raw data into the actual spectrum.

Titration – Purity

Titration, also known as titrimetry, is a common laboratory method of quantitative chemical analysis that is used to determine the concentration of an identified analyte. Since volume measurements play a key role in titration, it is also known as volumetric analysis. A reagent, called the titrant or titrator is prepared as a standard solution. A known concentration and volume of titrant reacts with a solution of analyte or titrand to determine concentration.

Put more plainly, a known reagent is mixed with a solution containing the analyte, and the physical change that follows is interpreted by the chemist as indicative of composition.

Reviewing Third Party Analysis Results

After the third party test results are received, the documents are compared against the specifications for the product and deemed as pass or fail. Any product which fails to meet any specification is subject to further third party testing. The product will be rejected if one or more specifications fail the additional testing. If the product passes all specifications, then we begin the in-house testing process.

In-House Testing

In addition to third party analysis we conduct in-house analysis with some of the aforementioned techniques as additional confirmation:

Melting Point Determination – Confirmation

The melting point of a substance is defined as the temperature range in which the substance undergoes a phase transition from solid to liquid. Any product for which a reputable literature melting point value is established can be tested by examination of its melting point. Melting points are reported as a range; the first value is the temperature at which first melt is observed, and the second value is the temperature at which full melt is achieved.

Organoleptic Analysis – Confirmation

The organoleptic data (visual appearance, texture, smell, taste) of passing raw material is documented for reference. This data is referred to when we conduct an initial inspection of raw material for organoleptic confirmation. It is possible for raw material to pass laboratory analysis and fail to match previous organoleptic data. This is not necessarily a problem, there can be a wide range of difference due to synthesis residuals, extraction or polymorphy. In that case we seek an explanation for why there is a difference to previous data and if necessary submit samples for additional laboratory analysis.

Foreign Materials Inspection – Confirmation

Raw material containers are sifted and inspected for foreign materials. Any powders or liquids found to contain foreign materials are returned to the quarantine area and designated for further analysis.

Final Review & Release

After all testing is complete we review results one last time for completeness and accuracy before releasing the material from quarantine. Every raw material must pass all relevant tests within designated specifications in order for the material to be used in production. After a material passes these tests, we generate a COA for the batch and move it to production. A raw material cannot be used in production until a COA is generated.

Our Quality Control Policy

It is Science’s policy to assist researchers in achieving their scientific and analytical goals by consistently delivering the finest quality products that not only meet but exceed our customers’ expectations.

Quality Mission Statement

Management will continuously review its efforts to exceed our customers’ expectations with an emphasis on making sure every aspect of the company exhibits a commitment to the Quality Policy.

This commitment will be maintained through:

  • Purchase of the highest quality ingredients from our suppliers
  • Appropriate testing of each product through reputable third party labs and in-house testing
  • Superior customer service
  • Continuous improvement of processes and procedures
  • Honesty and integrity in our marketing