APVMA chemists advancing global agvet regulatory science

Chief Scientist Phil Reeves APVMA
27 September 2017
Phil Reeves, Chief Scientist

Ever wondered how scientists are able to determine the makeup of a chemical product? Those in the field would be familiar with a process known as high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV) analytical methods—a common procedure used to analyse the quantities and composition of chemicals.

HPLC-UV is the most common method used to determine the chemical composition of agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals.

This process can be used for a variety of purposes including the development of pharmaceuticals, chemical formulations and drug discovery.

Here at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority we routinely evaluate chemistry and other scientific data including HPLC-UV data as part of our assessments for product and active constituent registrations.

Scientists rely on interpretations of these types of data being accurate to ensure registered products are safe and effective for use in animals and crops, and will not harm the health and safety of people, animals and our environment.

Scientists from our Chemistry and Manufacture section have made an insightful observation regarding the sensitivity and robustness of the HPLC-UV analytical method leading to better data interpretation of active constituent characteristics in some circumstances.

In an effort to gain feedback and support for our findings, we delivered a poster presentation—sensitivity and robustness of (HPLC-UV) analytical methodsto an audience of over 3000 local and international chemical experts, as well as industry and government representatives at the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) National Centenary Conference in Melbourne.

We are hopeful that incorporating our observation into international guidelines will lead to greater consistency across our agvet regulatory scientific work.

At the conference, we were also able to explain more about what we do as regulatory scientists, which is quite different to ‘traditional’ research science, delivering a presentation on the roles of chemistry in regulating agricultural and veterinary chemicals. I encourage anyone who is curious about what we do to check out the presentation slides.

The system used to perform HPLC-UV analysis. Image courtesy of the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, The University of Queensland. 

Mass spectrometer capable of HPLC-UV - from Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, the University of Queensland