The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes original research and studies in nine topic areas, each with a dedicated Section Editor.

Animal Food, Pet Food, and Plant Nutrient Methods

Section Editor: Nancy Thiex

This section is organized by material type or matrix, rather than by type of analytes as are most of the other sections.  Appropriate papers are therefore broad in scope and include those describing analytical methods or techniques for a wide variety of analytes in materials such as grain, feed ingredients, forage, mixed feeds, fertilizers, blended fertilizers, soil amendments, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, biostimulants, biosolids, pesticide formulations, animal tissues, and soils.  Examples of analytes are: nutrients and micronutrients (both total and soluble): minerals (macro, trace, and micro); feed additives (e.g., drugs, antibiotics, vitamins); and contaminants, toxicants or non-nutritive analytes (e.g., drug residues, mycotoxins, metals pesticides, pathogens, microbes).  Generally, these methods are of importance for commerce (labeling or pricing), for the purpose of monitoring to ensuring animal health and food/feed safety, or for investigations.  

Appropriate papers include single-laboratory validations, studies comparing the performance of methods, modifications or improvement to existing methods to improve performance or expand the scopes, review articles and new analytical techniques.  This section may also include policy papers that are of significance in the regulation of commerce of the materials listed above. Policy papers may discuss analytical tolerances, analytical error or data acceptance criteria, risk assessment, and other analytical topics of regulatory interest or impact. 

Drug Formulations

Section Editors: Samir Wahab and Joe O. Boison

This section focuses on analytical methods used to identify and analyze pharmaceutical ingredients and products. Concerns that are secondary include the analysis of chemicals and products related to pharmaceutical excipients and dietary supplements. The scope spotlights modern analytical methodologies and technologies and, at the same time, provides opportunities to include some basic methodologies for assisting less developed countries in screening and guarding against any substandard and counterfeit drugs in their areas and marketplaces. Biological work and dosage form performance testing and studies are outside the scope of this section.

Environmental Chemical Contaminants

Section Editor: Alexander J. Krynitsky and Xu-Liang Cao

The section on Environmental Chemical Contaminants seeks unpublished original methods, further studies of previously published methods, and background work leading up to a method for environmental contaminants. The emphasis is on research, development, and validation of accurate, sensitive methods for the analysis of chemical contaminant residues in the environment, which include trace elements and organic chemical contaminant residues that could affect food and public health. In this section the organic environmental chemical contaminant residues include but are not limited to classes of compounds such as pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), persistent organic pollutants (POPs, i.e., halogenated hydrocarbons) and other industrial chemical contaminant residues.  This section will consider validated methods for the above environmental chemical contaminant residues in environmental samples (i.e., soil and water) and in foods. This section also encourages publication of reviews, symposium presentations, and invited special sections dealing with methodology and regulatory aspects of chemical contaminants in the environment that could affect food and public health.

Food Chemical Contaminants

Section Editor: Joe O. Boison

The section on Food Chemical Contaminants seeks unpublished original methods, further studies of previously published methods, and background work leading up to a method for chemical contaminants. The emphasis is on research, development, and validation of accurate, sensitive methods related to chemical contaminants (including but not limited to i.e., seafood toxins, mycotoxins, antibiotics and veterinary drugs) in foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products that could adversely affect public health. The veterinary drug methods cover raw or processed foods (meat, fruits and vegetables, dairy, honey, etc.) in agriculture and aquaculture matrices.  This section also encourages publication of reviews, symposium presentations, and invited special sections dealing with methodology and regulatory aspects of chemical contaminants in food.

Human Nutrient Methods

Section Editor: Steven Brooks and Xu-Liang Cao

This section publishes basic and applied original research in the analytical sciences, including development of precise, accurate, and sensitive methods, related to major (macronutrients), and minor components (micronutrients, bioactive constituents, additives, and contaminants) of food; chemistry and biochemistry; physiological; nutritional and health; sensory and flavor aspects; and effects of processing and other technologies on compositional quality and safety of foods. This section encourages publication of reviews and invited special sections dealing with methodology, nutritional, health and safety, and regulatory aspects of major and minor components of food.

Microbiological Methods

Section Editor: Anthony D. Hitchins

Publications of the Journal include single and multi-laboratory collaborative studies of qualitative and quantitative methods for the detection and identification of the pathogenic, indicator and beneficial microbes, and the natural microflora found in foods, feeds, cosmetics, drugs and their production environments. Manuscripts about immunological, nucleic acid, whole genome, and biochemical detection and identification methods are considered including microbe-based bioassays.  Also considered are reports of studies on detection of airborne bio-threat microbes. The analytes of interest include but are not limited to bacteria, fungi and molds, protozoa, algae and viruses. In addition, manuscripts about methods for assessing the efficacy of disinfectants and preservatives and the microbial properties of biofilms are appropriate. Clinical microbiology methods submissions, especially reviews, can be considered only if they indicate their relevance and/or potential applicability to the pathogenic microbes that may occur in the Journal’s listed matrices of interest.

Natural Products

Section Editor: Paula Brown

The scope of the Natural Products section includes publications describing the development and validation of methods for identification of natural products and precise, accurate analytical methods for the quantitative and qualitative determination of desirable and undesirable naturally occurring constituents of dietary supplements, natural health products, therapeutic goods, traditional herbal medicines.  The emphasis is on new methods, particularly those used for regulatory enforcement and compliance purposes and in support of basic biomedical research.  Significant improvements to existing methods, technological advances, matrix extension studies and the use of newly developed/validated methods in surveys and in check sample programs (proficiency testing programs) will also be considered.

Sampling Methods

Section Editor: Nancy Thiex

The scope of this section includes studies related to the primary sampling and laboratory sampling methods for all relevant materials.  The materials of interest include (but are not limited to): food and food ingredients intended for humans, animal, and pets; plant foods; environmental materials; tobacco; cosmetics; and nutritional supplements.  Such studies should report error associated with the sampling method for specific materials and include a scholarly description of the study design for a specific analyte(s), analyte(s) concentration, acceptable error, and/or incorporation of sample quality control.  Sampling methods include (but not limited to) those for crops, bulk materials, finished lots, and selection of test portions.  Laboratory sampling methods include all processes after receipt of the laboratory sample through selection of test portion.

Appropriate papers include single laboratory validations of sampling methods, studies comparing the performance of sampling methods, and review articles. This section may also include policy papers such as those that discuss the impact of sampling tolerances on decision making, sampling error, sample quality criteria, risk assessment, and other sampling topics of regulatory interest or impact

Statistical Analysis and Chemometrics

Section Editor: George W. Latimer, Jr.

The Journal invites papers which provide statistical information about analytical method performance, e.g., both method reproducibility and repeatability; comparison of actual method statistics versus those calculated for a method (the HorRat); conformance to analytical models of response to data, e.g., calibration, comparison of methods, or how a given statistical approach can be used to mine more information from given sets of data.

Chemometric papers should extend the possibilities of analytical techniques or provide re-interpretation of previously published data. Examples are (1) prediction of elution order in a given chromatographic system based on structure, (2) qualitative and quantitative estimation of particular ingredients in mixtures using appropriate preprocessing and multivariate calibration to resolve overlapped chromatographic or spectrographic peaks, and (3) discussion on when noise and background removal techniques can be used to increase sensitivity.