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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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FDA Veterinarian Newsletter September/October 1999 Volume XIV, No V

The primary goal of scientific research in FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is to provide knowledge and procedures that ensure the safety of animal derived food and animal health products. To achieve this goal, CVM conducts both intramural and extramural research programs relevant to regulatory and public health needs.

CVM’s extramural research program brings to CVM the ideas and views of academic scientists and as such, is critical to maintaining access to cross-cutting and state-of-the-art science. Occasionally, projects funded through the extramural program may result in new, exceptionally innovative and practical ideas and procedures that represent an immediate advance in technology useful to food safety and drug regulation.

One of the developments that resulted from CVM funding for research into new methods for the analysis of drugs and pollutants in food animal tissues in the late 1980's and early 1990's was a process called matrix solid phase dispersion, or MSPD. The process involves blending tissues with a solid-phase bonded silica, such as the material used in solid phase extraction (SPE) columns, to simultaneously perform sample homogenization, sample matrix disruption and the formation of a column material from which individual drugs, drug classes or multiple drug classes can be eluted from a single sample. This process, first reported in 1989 by Steven A. Barker and Austin R. Long at Louisiana State University, was subsequently patented (U.S. patent # 5,272,094, issued Dec. 21, 1993) and has since been developed for commercial applications by at least two international companies. The primary interest has been in the use of MSPD for the isolation of pesticides in tissues from food animals and of herbicides and pesticides from fruits and vegetables.

The methods developed have been shown to be equivalent to or better than existing "official" methods. MSPD not only can increase the cost effectiveness of analytical methods but also contributes to the minimization of environmental and scientist solvent exposure hazards. Since the first publication of the process in 1989, approximately 50 new methods for drugs, pollutants and natural products using MSPD have been published, ranging from the isolation of tocopherols in human blood samples to the determination of herbicides in corn. These MSPD applications and the materials to perform them have primarily been promoted by Varian's Sample Preparation Products division in the U.S (which licensed the patent in 1995) and by International Sorbent Technology in the United Kingdom.