Future grain research will benefit from the improved sensitivity and level of detection (LOD) offered by mass spectrometry. Both the LOD and level of quantitation (LOQ) has improved 50-fold compared to HPLC. The improved sensitivity, the ability to test FB1, FB2 and FB3 simultaneously and quick turnaround of results will cut down on the time and expense researchers encounter when exploring new methods to control fumonisins.
Universities such as Iowa State University and Purdue with grain quality research initiatives may invest in the type of system Li invented in the years to come.
Impact on commerce
Using the methanol as a reagent in their new testing method, the Office of the Texas State Chemist has significantly reduced its operating costs for this test. The adoption of new technology enables the Office to provide improved service without adding cost to the regulated community.
“By operating on or near the technology frontier through the adoption of new instrumentation, we can provide much better service at a lower cost,” says Herrman. “We have experienced a significant return on capital investment through the adoption of a technology strategy that ultimately reduces cost and enables the office to not raise tonnage fees that pay for the regulatory service we provide for consumers and agribusiness. We’ve been able to hold our tonnage rates steady for the past six years and don’t anticipate that we will need to raise fees in the foreseeable future.”
Although more regulation is rarely welcome, improving the methods by which regulation is done can positively affect industry stakeholders.
“Good regulation is good for everyone,” says Herrman. “I refer to it as the currency of confidence. If consumers have confidence in the marketplace and agribusiness has confidence that they are competing on a level playing field, commerce will happen. When people lose confidence in the safety or reliability of products, it impedes commerce. Poor regulatory oversight increases risk for industry, which in turn, may result in a firm’s decision not to invest or expand in a particular market.”