September 9, 2019

Experts approve new Official Method for analyzing essential amino acids

Denver, Colorado, September 9, 2019—Food safety experts gathered at the 133rd AOAC INTERNATIONAL Annual Meeting and Exposition have approved a new analytical method for determining total amino acids in commercially manufactured infant formula and adult nutritionals. The test provides a second option to measure essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

“Essential amino acids are critical to life, and can only be obtained through diet,” said Darryl Sullivan, Chief Scientific Officer at Eurofins Scientific and Chair of AOAC’s Stakeholder Panel for Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals. “This new analytical method provides a valuable additional tool to manufacturers and regulators for analyzing infant formulas to ensure they provide the exact nutrients so important to developing babies.”

While it is generally recommended that babies should be breastfed for the first 6 months, many infants worldwide rely on commercially produced formula if they are unable to breastfeed due to the mother’s health, insufficient lactation, or other factors.

Most infant formula is based on cow’s milk, which differs from human milk in the type and percentages of key constituents including essential amino acids. These must be augmented and correctly balanced in commercially produced formula.

The new analytical method, “Determination of total proteinogenic amino acids and taurine by pre-column derivatization and UHPLC,” was developed by scientists at AssureQuality Limited in New Zealand in response to an active AOAC INTERNATIONAL Call for Methods. It utilizes tools commonly found in laboratories, including Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatography.

The new method was approved for Official Methods of AnalysisSM First Action status during a meeting of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Expert Review Panel for SPIFAN Nutrient Methods on September 7, 2019.

Official Methods of Analysis are microbiological and chemical analysis procedures that have undergone rigorous formal validation by AOAC INTERNATIONAL. After a two-year tracking period, “First Action” methods are reviewed for approval as “Final Action” methods, which are published in the Official Methods of Analysis, a globally recognized standards resource for analytical scientists.

The method was evaluated against Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPR®) 2014.013, which detailed the reliability and precision criteria needed for a valid test of amino acids in infant formula and adult nutritionals.