Jeff’s Roundup – Agilent Environmental and Food Meeting February 2017

Martin Perkins

17th February 2017

Amino Acid, Environmental, Food, GC/ICP/MS, Jeff Stubbs, Meeting, Water,

If you’ve read my blog posts recently, you’ll know of my excitement about this meeting. As I’ve said before, it’s my favourite event of the year, and I was looking forward to the content which had the potential to be the most interesting ever.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Last week’s event, from start to finish was absolutely excellent.

The plenary sessions over the afternoon were a range of applications which are driving each of the food and environmental sectors, and changing how things are approached. Some of the data was outstanding, and, I have to say, a little over my head at times. All of the speakers were on top form and it set the scene for what would be a hugely informative rest of the meeting.

Cocktails from test tubes and Chemistry was the theme in The Cloud 23 Bar that evening. Up in the highest floor of the hotel, with floor to ceiling windows and 360 degree views of the Manchester skyline, it was a great backdrop for all the delegates to enjoy the evening.

Following on from that, the legendary Chris Sandy Quiz during dinner was in full flow, and this year, our table didn’t do as well as last year (we won!), but it was a good night nevertheless! We’ll try to win it next year, hopefully it’s not as hard! Well done Chris!

The first full day was a split between food and environmental presentations.

Although I sat in the Environmental talks, my colleague Nathan Hawkins remarked that this was an excellent session to be in. I know many of my Agilent colleagues were wishing they could have split in two so they could attend both, such was the interest.

The Environmental Morning session has to be, easily, the best set of presentations I have been to. I’ve since heard I was not the only one to think so. The session, hosted by Craig Marvin started with Rob Carter from the NLS, using automated microextraction, something we’ve been working on with him. It was great to see Rob so enthusiastic about what Element and Agilent have been able to achieve with him, and it’s certainly been a topic of conversation since with some other delegates.

Josie Willott, from South East Water Scientific Services presentation on Water Screening tools using Unknowns Analysis and SureTarget certainly got people talking too. Workflows are becoming so much more easier to automate, and the approach that Agilent have been working on with Josie and her team, I feel, will filter out into more and more like-minded laboratories.

The topic of GC/ICP/MS was something I’ve an interest in, especially from working in the inorganic and organic labs at Northumbrian Water, and I thought Klaudia Rejnhard (Natural Resources Wales) delivered her presentation excellently. A different way to look at compounds like Tributyl Tins, but certainly one I can see being potentially adopted in more and more labs.

Debbie Loftus-Holden’s presentation was, and still is, being talked about. I may be biased, as Element worked with Debbie and Affinity Water, with Agilent’s help on this, but it really was a presentation that made an impact on many delegates and also staff from Agilent. It was excellent that the presentation focused heavily on what the online project was about, and how with the Agilent/GERSTEL/Element solution was able to help Affinity Water achieve their goals.

Workshops filled the afternoon session and as predicted were an excellent mixture of topics, all getting delegates’ creative juices flowing and lots of conversations and thoughts spinning out from delegates on how they could implement some of them to help in their own laboratories.

With the final workshop finishing for the day, the focus shifted to getting our glad-rags on for the Gala Dinner at Manchester Town Halls Great Hall. We were treated to a venue with absolutely fantastic architecture, and the guided tour we had was very informative. The gala dinner was delicious, accompanied by a Jazz Band. What a great night.

The next morning was further workshops, and again, what a high level of content and delivery. We really were spoiled for choice.

In the exhibition space throughout the meeting, a diverse range of Agilent and their partners were on show, and many of the delegates were interacting with them. The Element stand was always busy, and the GERSTEL MPS we had on show was a big talking point.

To round up, if you are working with food or environmental samples, this is the event for you. I can’t stress this enough. You’ll go to an event like this and come back with a load of ideas, thoughts and collaborative opportunities that could change how you do things back in your own lab.

A personal thanks to Henry Russell, Ken Brady, Sarah Corbin and the organising committee from Agilent Technologies for inviting us to the Event. It went like clockwork!

We also have to thank them for allowing some of our new applications to be showcased in the form of 2 of the talks, and also the workshop from Nathan Hawkins on Amino Acids. Finally, a thank-you must be given to Rob Carter and Debbie Loftus-Holden for their excellent presentations that we’ve been involved with this year. Thank you!

I hear that the organisation of next year’s event is beginning too. I’ll be sure to be there, and be sure to write back on here as soon as dates and locations get confirmed.

On to the Environmental and Food Meeting 2018!!!

See you there!