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Chembiotech Laboratories
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Physical Properties
Laboratory investigations
Chembiotech Laboratories utilise a variety of analytical techniques for both routine analysis and more advanced R&D projects for clients, particularly in areas of new product development, product quality control (QC), and product property modification and troubleshooting. Regularly employed techniques include:
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • High Performance Size Exclusion Chromatography (HP-SEC)
  • Rheological analysis (creep, flow & oscillation measurements)
  • Texture analysis (adhesion, extrusion, penetration tests)
  • Fourier Transform-InfraRed (FT-IR) spectroscopy
  • Ultraviolet/visible (UV/vis) spectrophotometry
Chembiotech Laboratories also has regular access to a number of other high-power techniques, including Gas Chromatography (GC), Mass Spectrometry (MS), GC-MS, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDXA), etc.

Chembiotech Laboratories also has a computer-controlled Fibre Rig for the wet-spinning of polysaccharide-based fibres, such as those based upon Na/Ca alginate, and Na alginate/alginic acid. Fibre properties can be manipulated by incorporation of other biomaterials/polysaccharides into the spinning dope solution, along with pharmaceutically 'active' additives resulting in fibres with controlled release properties. Fibre filament dimensions/shape can be controlled using different tantalum spinnerets, and properties also manipulated using different draw and stretch ratios during fibre production.

Listed below are some examples of the types of analyses performed by Chembiotech Laboratories using such equipment/techniques:

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
Chembiotech Laboratories primarily utilises a type of HPLC called High Performance Anion Exchange Chromatography (HP-AEC) for the identification and quantification of carbohydrates (mono- and oligo-saccharides) and amino acids.
Image of Dionex equipment
These can be free or monomeric components of larger biological macromolecules (such as polysaccharides and proteins) that are liberated on hydrolysis. Detection can be accomplished by a number of techniques, which include pulsed amperometric detection (PAD) and photodiode array detection. Chembiotech Laboratories utilises Dionex equipment and CarboPac columns for such analyses.
High Performance Size Exclusion Chromatography (HP-SEC)
HP-SEC is utilised by Chembiotech Laboratories for the analysis of polymers in aqueous solution (mainly polysaccharides and proteins). Detection is performed using a differential refractive index (DRI) detector. Using appropriate standards with low polydispersity, the molecular size of polymers can be compared and contrasted and software used to generate the commonly used macromolecular size statistical averages: Mn, Mw, Mz and Mz+1. Chembiotech Laboratories utilises Dionex equipment and TSK columns for such analyses.
Rheological analysis (creep, flow & oscillation measurements)
Chembiotech Laboratories  use a combination of flow, creep and oscillation measurements to determine and compare/contrast the viscoelastic characteristics of raw/modified biomaterials and products.
Flow tests are routinely performed in order to ascertain differences in zero shear viscosity and shear thinning, which can be related to molecular weight and molecular weight distribution. Such techniques can provide a lot of information with respect to the physical properties of gel materials, such as polysaccharide-based hydrogel wound dressings, and for comparing the gelatinisation profiles of starches of different botanical origin. Chembiotech laboratories utilise a TA Instruments controlled stress rheometer equipped with a variety of different size cone and flat plate geometries.
Texture analysis (adhesion, extrusion, penetration tests)
Texture analysis is utilised by Chembiotech Laboratories for the comparative, quantifiable and reproducible assessment of a number of different material/product properties. Chembiotech Laboratories utilises a Stable Micro Systems Texture Analyser, which is effectively a calibrated force probe that measures the force required to perform various activities. This is a very versatile instrument when equipped with a number of probes and attachments for testing specific parameters or types of materials. For example the hardness index of a wide range of materials can be determined by penetration test using conical and finger probes. Chembiotech Laboratories have assessed the adhesiveness and cohesiveness of commercial polysaccharide-based hydrogel wound dressings using a cylinder probe, and their mucoadhesion properties (using a specilised mucoadhesion rig), and also the extrusion properties of viscous raw material solutions and products using forward and backward extrusion attachments.
Fourier Transform-InfraRed (FT-IR) spectroscopy
Elucidation of chemical functionality is routinely performed on a wide range of materials (both natural and synthetic) by FT-IR spectroscopic analysis. Chembiotech Laboratories utilises a Nicolet FT-IR spectrometer equipped with an Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) sampling accessory, which permits direct analysis of solid and liquid samples. This is particularly useful for analysis of fibrous polysaccharide samples (such as chitosan and cellulose), which are very difficult to analyse by traditional transmission sample preparation techniques (e.g. nujol mull / KBr disc). Chembiotech Laboratories specifically utilise FT-IR spectroscopic analysis for carbohydrate derivative characterisation, were spectra peak height and peak area measurements can be used to facilitate degree of substitution (DS) determination for selected chemical functionalities.
Ultraviolet/visible (UV/vis) spectrophotometry
Chembiotech Laboratories regularly employ the use of colorimetric/ spectrophotometric assays for the determination of specific classes of material, such as the cysteine-sulphuric acid assay for aldohexoses, the carbazole assay for uronic acids, the ninhydrin assay for amino groups and numerous assays for protein content determination.
Chembiotech Laboratories has also been involved in the modification of existing assays and the design of new assay chemistries for specific targeted compounds, such as the development of a new assay based on the cysteine-sulphuric acid assay for the detection of cellulose breakdown products, namely 2-furfuraldehyde and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, and the development of a new assay for the detection of nicotine metabolites in the saliva of smokers.