SGS has established of a dedicated, high-throughput GLP specimen management facility at its Taunusstein site in Germany.


A critical step in the execution of GLP residue analysis is the generation of high-quality homogenized specimens. It is important to ensure during this process that the subsamples are representative and homogenous, pesticide residues in the samples are not altered and no cross-contamination between samples occurs.

For residue analysis, only very small fractions of the bulk field specimen are extracted in the laboratory. Therefore, it is crucial that the residues are distributed equally throughout the entire specimen. To this end, the specimens are cut, ground and/or mixed during specimen homogenisation. During this process, cell barriers of natural materials like crop tissues and fruits or structures of soil specimens are broken down. The residues may be exposed to enzymes or other factors leading to possible degradation. Volatile compounds can evaporate and/or, if there are catalytic effects from the contact material, the residue may be altered. The primary influence on residue integrity is the availability of free water. To decrease the possibility of this occurring, specimen homogenization is usually performed under deep frozen conditions.

The new specimen management facility at Taunusstein covers 300 m2 and has been designed to allow robust, safe, high-throughput specimen processing under environmentally friendly conditions. The building has seven separate units, including three dedicated specimen processing rooms, specimen entry, social, sanitary and a technical control unit. The three specimen processing rooms will allow the independent homogenization of soil and crop specimens. In addition, a dedicated soil segmentation and pre-processing room has been created. The whole facility has been designed with separated aeration systems, to allow optimum specimen flow but with the avoidance of cross contamination through air or dust.

The highly sophisticated aeration system has an air exchange rate of >20x per hour. In order to reduce the possibility of chemical degradation, dry ice (-78 °C) is used to cool equipment prior to processing and during homogenization as well as to ensure that the specimens remain deep frozen during the entire process. Working with a wide range of sample sizes, the site uses high volumes of dry ice. It is therefore important that this facility can provide a safe working environment, while allowing efficient specimen processing.

The creation of this dedicated specimen management facility is the latest step in the evolution of high-quality specimen analysis at Taunusstein. The site already has plenty of storage capacity under deep frozen conditions. The analytical capacity allows to process approximately 40,000 specimens per season.

The specimen management facility will be able to efficiently process specimens of all sizes – operator exposure studies require large specimen sizes for extraction and work-up, whereas the specimen size for a pollinator study can be less than 100 mg or 1 ml. The specimen size for a crop trial varies from 1 kg (e.g. cereals) to 2 kg for small fruits and vegetables, and up to >10 kg for large vegetables or soil specimens. The sample processing will generate a representative homogeneous specimen size of between 0.1 to 20 g for further specimen extraction and analysis.

SGS leads the way in providing high-grade residue testing. We conduct residue field trials on a wide variety of crops, rotational crops, dislodgeable foliar residues, animal feed, field soil dissipation, accumulation, leaching, ground and surface water monitoring, non-target arthropods and plants. Our GLP field trial network operates 61 stations in 28 countries, each aligned with the GLP laboratory network.

Focusing on crop and e-fate residue specimen analysis, our GLP laboratories are sited in France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, South Dakota (USA), and Sao Paulo (Brazil). With established specimen homogenization processes for all kind of material and different sizes, SGS is the ideal partner when looking for residue analysis, wherever you are working in the world.

For more information, please contact:

Inga-Mareike Bach
Business Development Manager
t: +49 6128 744 569

About SGS

SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 97,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.