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Media release: Hamilton scientist wins award at international science conference

Hamilton scientist wins award at international conference

1 September 2012

New Zealand scientist, Bruce Morris, from Hamilton, has won the inaugural “Excellence in Sample Prep” award at an international conference for analytical chemists held in North America.

The annualconference, known as the North American Chemical Residue Workshop (NACRW), isopen to scientists from all over the world with attendees from North and South America, Asia, Europe,Africa and Australasia.

Dr. Morris, aSenior Technologist at New Zealand's leading analytical testinglaboratory, Hill Laboratories, was judged against more than 35 internationalscientists for the Excellence in Sample Prep award. 

The award wasgiven for an oral presentation delivered to more than 300 conference delegates.Dr. Morris, along with colleague Richard Schriner,were the first New Zealanders to attend and present at NACRW, which this yearcelebrated its 51st year.

According to HillLaboratories founder and managing director Dr. Roger Hill, Bruce’s presentationdemonstrated the benefits of a new type of sample preparation Hill Laboratorieshas spent many years perfecting.

“HillLaboratory’s Food and Bioanalytical division has put in huge resources overmany years to develop test methods for detecting pesticide residues in foods,” Dr.Hill said.

“About eightyears ago we became aware of a new residue testing method, called the QuEChERSextraction, which was receiving great international acclaim as the mosteffective way to analyse pesticide residues in foods.”

“Since then, Bruceand the team, including Mr Schriner and Shaun Clay, have worked to improve the‘clean-up’ process in residue testing. They developed a new 'clean-up'cartridge in co-operation with our USsuppliers. Now, after five years of hard work, we have the method reliablyrunning at Hill Laboratories,” he said.

According DrHill, Dr. Morris’ presentation of Hill Laboratories’ pesticide residue journeyat the NACRW has a chance to put New Zealandon the international residue testing map.

“People havesaid to us that Hill Laboratories is 'world leading' in the area of residuestesting, and this award confirms that. 

“Essentiallythe improved residue testing method means that clients end up with moreaccurate testing results, and thus people buying fruit and vegetables receivebetter protection against buying produce with unwanted pesticides.We areextremely proud of Bruce for presenting and receiving this award and hope itwill spark improved pesticide residue methods carried out internationally,” hesaid.

Dr. Morris,who had only once before presented at an international level, said the processwas both exciting and daunting.

“The NACRW isregarded as the best pesticide residue conference in the world. The people youare presenting to are experts in this field, so if you’ve got anything wrong,they’ll know about it, and they’ll tell you!” he said.

“Having neverpresented to that many people before, it was a bit unnerving. But also excitingto have had the opportunity to put Hill Laboratories, and New Zealand, on theinternational residue testing map,” he said.

HillLaboratories celebrated its 30th anniversary in July this year. The companyis a 100 per cent privately owned New Zealandanalytical testing laboratory and has three major testing areas: Agriculture,Environmental and Food.

With its mainsite in Hamilton, thecompany currently has four sites in the NorthIsland, two in the SouthIsland, and an office in Japan.Theconference was held last month in Tampa, Florida.