AI technology and the lab of the future

In 2022, Agilent announced its acquisition of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed by Virtual Control, an AI and machine learning software developer that creates innovative analysis solutions in lab testing. Agilent will integrate the software, known as ACIES, into its industry-leading gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GS/MS) platforms to improve the productivity, efficiency and accuracy of high-throughput labs the company serves around the world.

ACIES automates the labour-intensive task of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry data analysis improving efficiency in the laboratory workflow, from sampling to reporting. Agilent will integrate the technology into its MassHunter software package for LC/MS and GC/MS instruments.


Digital labs

This move by Agilent signals that the digital age is very much here for laboratories. Science has always driven the world forward and now it will do the same for laboratories.

The lab of the future is a concept built on the foundation of digitalised labs. It encompasses smart technological workflow systems that are connected and capable of collecting vast amounts of data via integrated automation.

A digitalised lab should be considered a more advanced lab as it has more access to data. With data being key to transforming science, increasing amounts of data generated in any lab, let alone a digitally connected lab, could be a game-changer – but only if it’s collected and synthesised into information and knowledge that is useful.

The digital environment (i.e., paperless work in an electronic format) capitalises on digitalisation. It incorporates all of the necessary instrumentation for complete data analysis and enables the full value of the data for decision-making. The ability to monitor operations and provide more sophisticated insights is a core reason for introducing AI into the operational lab environment.



Transforming science

Artificial intelligence (AI) is often defined as the ability of a machine to learn how to solve cognitive challenges. However, in the context of scientific methodology and laboratory interconnectivity, AI is starting to be used for capturing data to model human observation and decision-making processes.

Taken forward, connecting all instruments in a lab via AI enables the opportunity for an even more astute understanding of the interactions between technology and also users, potentially providing an all-inclusive view of all laboratory operations.

Accessing this powerful source of information will become a necessary component of scientific productivity. This is an inevitable next step in creating lab management systems that are so efficient and provide knowledge that is so valuable that only AI will be able to produce them.

AI, coupled with universal sensing capabilities to detect and monitor a range of variables, e.g., an instrument’s power draw, enables companies to realise certain operational and financial benefits to their business and plan for the future. Through high-quality and readily available insights, AI enables the simultaneous monitoring of all equipment usage in the lab and holistic capacity tracking.

Watch our webinar on Industrialising High-Throughput Glycoproteomics Using AI for Clinical Use


Staying competitive in a competitive world

Globally, scientific innovation is accelerating, so labs need to consider the technology investments required to become digitally enabled in order to keep up and stay competitive. We live in a data-driven world, so scientific laboratories must fundamentally transform how they create, manage, and effectively use all the data that is generated in their lab ecosystem. Achieving and sustaining a competitive edge in a world of constant change will require the continual transformation of lab operations and scientific data management. This will be the first and most important step toward becoming a truly digitalised lab.


Standardising honey fingerprinting methods

Although previous work has been done developing case studies for fingerprinting foodstuffs, including honey, the approaches among laboratories have been different regarding sample preparation and instrumental conditions. There are also differences in terms of data processing and analysis. As a result, two laboratories analysing the same sample may obtain slightly different results. Ideally, developing a standardised fingerprinting method that could be used across all LC/MS-based workflows, enabling the same testing technique to be used across multiple laboratories, would be optimal and where future work is aimed.

Read our article on Fingerprinting Honey to Ensure Purity

When addressing the issues of food safety, product quality, and authenticity, each may be governed by separate sets of regulations. For example, looking at the residues of contaminants in honey, such as pesticides, there may be differences globally. Countries may have their restrictions for the maximum limit for specific compounds. Contaminants are a part of the picture when considering fingerprinting for honey, but permitted levels may vary between countries.

Additionally, as samples come from the field to the lab for testing, there is potential interest in reversing this and bringing the lab out into the field instead. This interesting but not yet recognised capability would enable regulators and the global food industry to respond more quickly to honey contamination and food fraud.

Step into the future, elevate your business and talk to our team of experts about how you can improve the productivity, efficiency and accuracy of your lab.

Food Testing Workflows Webinar Series

Ensuring food safety and quality is more crucial than ever. For African countries, where ensuring food safety and quality is paramount for the well being of their citizens and the success of their exports, Agilent expertise can make a difference.

Chemetrix offers Agilent’s comprehensive suite of solutions that helps you identify pesticide residues, verify label claims, and safeguard food authenticity. Now, a new free-to-access series of webinars expands on necessary knowledge for this valuable process that ensures our food is safe and nutritious.

These webinars are designed to help you learn more about the latest trends and technologies in Food Testing Workflows. Agilent experts will present webinars on the latest applications, soil analysis, laboratory performance improvement, time and cost savings opportunities, and much more.



Webinar 1 – Agilent LC Solutions for Food Testing and Food Fortification

HPLC is a powerful analytical technique widely used in the food industry, research labs and commercial testing labs for quality control, safety assessment, and nutritional analysis


Ansuman Mahato
Application Engineer – HPLC
Agilent Technologies



Webinar 2 – Latest Applications and Workflows for the Food Market

Food laboratories find themselves in a frequently changing environment where they need to update their analytical procedures to follow new legislation and upcoming regulations.


Cecilia Mazza
Product Specialist, EMEA IDO – Chemistries & Suppliers
Agilent Technologies



Webinar 3 – Sample Prep for Food Analysis: An overview about available techniques

In this presentation we will cover most common Sample Preparation Techniques for Food Analysis and related products, as well as most advanced, specific and unique solutions.


Giorgio Ferlat
MSc, EMEAI IDO Product Specialist, Chemistries and Supplies
Agilent Technologies



Webinar 4 – Multiresidue Pesticide Analysis in Food using GC/MS/MS and LC/MS/MS in Accordance with the SANTE 11312/2021 Guideline

Pesticides play an important role in the agriculture and food industries to improve crop yield and food production. However, the quantity of pesticide residue remaining in or on commodities are tightly controlled to avoid contamination of the food chain and the environment. Therefore, regulatory agencies have set maximum residue levels (MRLs) for hundreds of pesticides and their metabolites.


Laurent Pascaud
Spécialiste Produits GC & GC/MS
Agilent Technologies



Webinar 5 – Plant and Soil Analysis for the Determination of their Inorganic Content

Testing soils and plants for trace and major elements is important for the development, the growth and the plant metabolism. This is also critical for monitoring the plant nutrients composition and assessing the potential for contamination of food crops.


Uwe Noetzel
EMEAI Technical Coverage and Solutions
Agilent Technologies



Webinar 6 – Analysing Trace and Major Elements in Food Samples

To ensure food safety and safeguard human health, the characterization of the elemental composition of a wide range of food types is required. Since the concentration ranges for different elements vary significantly across different foods, various methodes can be used for sample characterization.


Uwe Noetzel
EMEAI Technical Coverage and Solutions
Agilent Technologies



Webinar 7 – Better Lab Sample Turnaround – Saving Time and Solvent per run

Nowadays, laboratories have the challenge of becoming progressively more productive as well as focusing on continuous improvements.


Giorgio Ferlat
MSc, EMEAI IDO Product Specialist, Chemistries and Supplies
Agilent Technologies



Webinar 8 – Quantitative Analysis of Mycotoxins in Foods by Triple Quadrupole LC/MS

Pesticides play an important role in the agriculture and food industries to improve crop yield and food production. However, the quantity of pesticide residue remaining in or on commodities are tightly controlled to avoid contamination of the food chain and the environment. Therefore, regulatory agencies have set maximum residue levels (MRLs) for hundreds of pesticides and their metabolites.


Henry Russell
LCMS Product Specialist
Agilent Technologies


Agilent food and beverage testing products and services keep you at the forefront of the latest trends, ahead of issues, and focused where you need to be to deliver the highest quality and value to your customers.

Join this informative and exciting webinar series that will explore topics such as the latest applications and workflows for the food market, sample prep for food analysis, plant and soil analysis for inorganic content and much much more. The webinar series is free but registration is required.


Register now >


Food and Cannabis Elemental Analysis Part 2: Elemental Sample Prep for the Food and Agriculture Lab – Optimizing Your System for High Matrix Samples

Trace elemental analysis of foods and cannabis products is essential to ensure that products are suitable for consumption. The analysis of minerals and additional trace elements is also important because it provides labelling information that is required when these products are used as nutritional.

Agilent has presented a webinar series that focuses on elemental sample preparation to optimise high matrix samples in the food and agriculture testing space.


Part 1

We will cover the entire Agilent elemental portfolio. Each of the different instruments’ strengths and how they meet the challenges that food and cannabis labs have.


Part 2

We will focus on preparing your samples, including microwave digestion. We will also cover how to optimize your system for high matrix samples and a diverse sample set.


Part 3

We will put it all together, with running samples live in the lab. We will also share additional tips and tricks for obtaining excellent analytical results in these difficult matrices.

This focused information on spectroscopy applications is valuable for the emerging cannabis market as well as analysts who are seeking to master skills for food testing.



Jenny Nelson, PhD
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Jenny Nelson received her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 2007, and her MBA from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2011. Currently, Jenny is an Application Scientist for the Life Science and Chemical Analysis team at Agilent Technologies, joining in 2012 (with a step away in 2019). Jenny is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, since 2013. Jenny has been very active with AOAC and ASTM over the past eight years, serving on expert review panels, chairing committees, and volunteering to develop new methods needed by the industry. Jenny has extensive experience in operating and method development for Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS), Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES), Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (MP-AES). Jenny has broad knowledge and experience in different speciation analysis for many sample matrices using GC-ICPMS and LC-ICPMS. As well as vast experience with sp-ICP-MS for many applications.


Greg Gilleland
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Greg began his spectroscopy career in 1987 in Colorado, working at a series of environmental labs. After 14 years working in the world of commercial environmental labs, he moved on to a spectroscopy instrument manufacturer where he performed service and sales functions over the course of 11 years. He has been with Agilent Technologies, Inc., since 2012 in the role of Application Scientist for ICP-OES, MP-AES and AA products.


Mark Kelinske
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Mark Kelinske is an Applications Chemist with Agilent Technologies, specializing in advanced ICP-MS and ICP-MS/MS techniques. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Prior to Agilent, Mark was a senior research scientist and research group manager with Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, AL, where he focused on low-level analytical chemistry, method development, and research program management.


Chris Conklin
Atomic Spectroscopy Product Specialist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

With a degree from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Chris worked in, and lead, a quality control lab testing fine chemicals ranging from reagent grade to high purity. Over the course of 12 years in that role, Chris has run a variety of atomic elemental instruments and techniques including AA, ICP-OES, and ICP-MS. As a result, he has seen most of the periodic table in its elemental form and overcome the associated interferences. In 2018, Chris brought that knowledge and experience to his current role with Agilent as the Product Specialist for Atomic Spectroscopy supporting AA, MP-AES, and ICP-OES for the Eastern US.


Register and watch on demand >


Vitamins & Amino Acids Analysis for Nutrition Labelling

The vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, B12, folate, and the minerals selenium, zinc, copper, and iron, are essential for normal immune function. Dietary supplements are highly in demand to boost immunity and prevent deficiencies in these nutrients. Dietary supplements and their raw materials are diverse, from an extract in a tablet to a tea packet, milk, or oil bottle in the kitchen. Producers and regulators ensure that active compounds are present in these supplements at the levels expected.

Geographic origin, freshness, and production-type can affect health benefits and also require testing. LC and GC methods focus on known compounds of importance with many outlined by reference bodies like IOC, ISO, FSSAI, and USP. Agilent Technologies is excited to be holding the Food Quality Analysis Program, in collaboration with FSSAI.

Join our webinars to learn about workflow solutions for analysis of nutritional parameters in food, through faster identification and detection at low levels.


Ansuman Mahato
Application Specialist LC
Agilent Technologies


Register and watch on demand >


Food Labelling: A Brief Overview

Every single food item we purchase in a store has a label or two. While we can sometimes overlook the labels, they are doing a vital job. Food labelling helps to promote consumer confidence and trust in the food industry by providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions about the foods they eat. It also helps to promote transparency, safety, and fair trade practices in the food industry.

But what does it all really mean for consumers, how does it affect consumers and why should consumers be aware of the laws relating to food labelling? It is because there is expectation and trust on the part of the consumer. The consumer expects a supplier of foodstuffs to comply with the relevant laws relating to their product and trust that the manner in which the foodstuff is handled, and the information that is presented to the consumer regarding a product, is true and not misleading. From allergen declarations, the amount of sugar present in a product right down to the storage instructions of a foodstuff, consumers are fast becoming more conscious of what is in their foodstuffs.


Food labelling in South Africa

In South Africa, food labelling is regulated by the Department of Health through the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act (Act 54 of 1972) and the Regulations Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (R146). The regulations also require that labels be written in English, but may also include one or more of the other official languages of South Africa, such as Afrikaans, isiZulu, or Sesotho.

All food products sold in South Africa must have labels that include certain mandatory information such as the product name, ingredients list, net quantity, country of origin, and the name and address of the manufacturer or importer. Common allergens must be declared on a label and the manner in which allergens must be declared is regulated by R146.

Date marking is a piece of mandatory information on a label. It must be indicated on the label and in the following manner: “best before”, “BB” and/or “use by” and/or “sell by”. Any person is prohibited from removing or altering the date marking. However, it is important to note that when the “best before” dates have been reached, it does not mean that the food is unsafe, but that it may be past its best. “Use by” is somewhat more instructive and often applies to refrigerated items where the risk of microbiological spoilage can be expected to increase after a given date. “Sell by” is a store guideline to ensure that goods still have a reasonable shelf life after sale.


supermarket food labelling


If there are claims made on a label, such as “High in fibre” it is mandatory to have a nutritional table on the label. If the nutritional table has been indicated on the label, whether voluntarily by the manufacturer or due to the fact that a claim has been made on the label, the Regulations relating to the Foodstuffs Act (R146) prescribes a very specific format in which the nutritional information must be presented. Amongst other requirements, the nutritional information must be presented in the tabular format, energy content must be declared in “kilojoules” or “kJ”, and the amount of each nutrient present in the foodstuff must be expressed per 100 g/ml and per single serving.

South Africa has also done some pioneering things in terms of food manufacturing and food labelling. South Africa was the first country in the world to require mandatory fortification of staple foods with vitamins and minerals, including wheat flour, maize meal, and rice. The fortification of these foods is aimed at addressing the country’s high levels of nutrient deficiencies. In 2018, South Africa also implemented a new regulation requiring the warning label “high in sugar” on food and drinks with more than 17.5 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres. This regulation is aimed at addressing the country’s high rates of obesity and related health problems.


Importance for suppliers

Labelling legislation in South Africa is complex and must be looked at as a whole and not each part in isolation. In addition to the multitude of legislations pertaining to food labelling, there is also no single regulatory authority on labelling of foodstuffs. Bearing all this in mind, and although it can be a bit overwhelming, consumers must be aware of their rights and where to go should they have a complaint.

Suppliers and retailers must also take note of the many food labelling legislations which will impact their marketing, designing of labels and ultimately their relationship with the consumer. With new labelling Regulations in the pipeline gearing to replace R146, understanding the complex nature of our South African labelling legislation has never been more important.

(This article contains information originally published by the Food Advisory Consumer Services)


Explore our Library Page for more insights >


AFSW2022: The Food Safety Event of the Year!

Africa Food Safety Workshop 2022 is happening at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg from 27 June until 1 July. The event brings together food safety stakeholders from across the continent to enhance networking and to facilitate the sharing of analytical knowledge and transfer of developed technologies that pertain to all areas of food safety control systems. 


The programme

The AFSW2022 programme boasts diverse discussion panels along with influential scientists and key role players delivering presentations that aim to boost systems and enhance trade across the sector. Q&A sessions give attendees the opportunity to engage with the speakers and get additional insights on the exciting range of topics. The event will also have a dedicated exhibition for various Food Safety instrumentation and equipment suppliers, like Chemetrix. 

You can view the full programme here


Why should you attend?

With the globalisation of the food chain, there is a greater demand for consistent quality, uncompromising safety and a commitment to protecting consumers while also adopting sustainable solutions. Chemetrix leads the industry with products and services to help you deliver what your customers demand. Our instruments, systems, and supplies are used throughout the food production chain, including incoming inspection, new product development, quality control and assurance, and packaging. We are excited to showcase our products at AFSW2022 along with our expertise, and we look forward to networking with the industry professionals in attendance. 

This event is important to members of various communities connected to food safety, including: 

  • Food testing laboratories (analysts and managers)
  • Quality infrastructure institutions including Accreditation, Standards, Scientific and Legal Metrology institutes
  • Regulators
  • Research/academia
  • Industry (food manufacturers/distributors)
  • International and non-governmental organizations
  • Professional associations


The event will be led by Keynote Speaker Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa (African Union Commission – Director of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (DARBE), AU, Ethiopia).


For more event information, visit to purchase your tickets and you can see the discussion and speaker programme here.