Jun 20, 2022
Independent Lab Takes Hemp Testing to the Next Level

Aurum Labs is the first Colorado lab to be fully certified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to conduct all required compliance testing of industrial hemp products. This includes a pesticide screen of 102 analytes — the most expansive pesticide analysis of hemp and cannabis in the United States.

Owners, Luke and Liz Mason at Aurum Labs in Durango, Colorado

This comprehensive pesticide screen is an analytical challenge for any lab pursuing certification, especially within the accelerated timeline that the CDPHE demanded. However, large chain, multi-state testing labs had an advantage over Aurum Labs due to their access to capital and other resources, while Aurum Labs is an independent testing lab.

Pesticide analysis in cannabis is new, extremely difficult, and not like traditional dietary ingredient or agricultural product pesticide testing. The molecular structure of cannabinoids is so similar to pesticides that they create obstacles for proper analysis. Even the most experienced analytical chemists have struggled with this arduous method development.

“Our laboratory staff has worked diligently over the last 12 months, often experiencing COVID supply chain issues that made this method development even more challenging,” says Aurum’s Owner and Lab Director Luke Mason. “Ultimately, it came down to the fact that we have some of the most technically sound and dedicated chemists in the industry, and we were determined to get it done.”

Aurum Labs utilizes new liquid chromatography and gas chromatography instrumentation, coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometers (LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS) to analyze 102 pesticides. This new method is a significant expansion from Aurum Lab’s Colorado Cannabis pesticide method, where only 13 pesticides are analyzed. The new method is also more sensitive and selective, with pesticides detected at very low levels.

“It’s difficult to compete with these large, private-equity-funded labs, but Aurum is passionate about serving the evolving hemp industry” says Liz Mason, Aurum Labs’ Director of Operations. “We are committed to staying on the scientific forefront to give the most comprehensive services to our clients. Like we always say, ‘real people, real results.'”

Currently, Aurum Labs is one of five certified hemp testing labs in the U.S. approved to perform this pesticide analysis and is the only independent, Colorado-based testing lab. Colorado hemp producers have not been able to complete all compliance testing with a single Colorado lab until now.


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