In this free 90-minute webinar, subject matter experts share insights into which technologies are suitable for what a lab is trying to accomplish, challenges faced in the cannabis microbiology lab, expanding into the world of cannabis testing, and AOAC’s role in developing standards, education, and methods for microbiological analysis. Originally aired February 25, 2021.

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Who Should Attend?

Key laboratory personnel responsible for microbiological testing in cannabis laboratories

What Can You Expect to Get Out of This Webinar?

Participants will become familiar with nascent technologies and traditional methods to consider in the development of microbiological testing on cannabis and cannabis-derived products.

Course Content

The Past, Present, and Future of Microbiological Testing: Which Technologies are Suitable for What Your Lab is Trying to Accomplish?

Michael Esposito, Lead Scientist, MCR Labs

New developments in molecular technologies promise rapid turnaround times, detection of unculturable organisms, and reduced space and staffing needs. Are these technologies suitable for every microbiological application? We will be taking a closer look into modern solutions like qPCR, ddPCR, and micro-arrays that are seeking to replace hundred year old methods like plating and most probable number in order to gain some more insight on what these technologies actually do and in which situations they are most appropriate for use.

Key learning objective: Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind the microbiological test methods utilized in the laboratory in order to better inform their strategies for accurate reporting based on the strengths and weaknesses of each microbiological testing approach.

Challenges Faced in the Cannabis Micro Lab

Alexandra Tudor, Director of Business Development, TEQ Analytical Labs

Experiences, and insight, from running a high throughout Colorado Cannabis laboratory will be presented. Challenges around testing a variety of marijuana sample matrices and the various test methods to analyze those samples for microbiological organisms will be presented. Issues related to sample size submission in the cannabis industry and the lack of reference methods for cannabis and the hurdles it has posed to industry will also be discussed.

Expanding into the World of Cannabis Testing: Lessons Learned from an Established Food and Pharmaceuticals Laboratory

Michael Loewenstein, VP Scientific Consulting, Q Laboratories

As the exciting and rapidly growing industry of cannabis and cannabis products continues to expand, laboratory testing will remain a critical component of delivering safe, high quality products to the consumer. However, cannabis poses many new challenges to the laboratory industry. From the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, to capital investment requirements, to limitations of existing methodologies, successful laboratories will need to be highly agile, while staying deeply grounded in fundamental science, to succeed.

Cannabis is Legal in My State, But Is It Safe to Consume? AOAC’s Role in Developing Standards, Educational Guidance, and Certifying Methods for Microbiological Analysis

Pat Bird, PMB Bio Tek Consulting

As the cannabis industry continues to grow at a rapid rate, regulators, laboratories, and industry are in a constant state of evaluating the tools they use to ensure the product is safe for consumption. AOAC INTERATIONAL is uniquely positioned to provide assistance to these key stakeholders. This presentation will highlight the role of the CASP Microbial Contaminants working group in the development of standardized method performance criteria (SMPRs) and describe the process of certification of microbiology methods through the AOAC Research Institute (AOAC RI) Performance Tested MethodSM (PTM) program.

Key Learning Objective: Attendees will gain insight into AOAC INTERNATIONAL process to develop consensus-based standards and acceptance criteria for validating microbiological methods for cannabis, hemp, and cannabis and hemp derived products.

About the Presenters

Patrick Bird

PMB Bio Tek Consulting

Patrick Bird brings to the position a 15-year career in food safety, with experience in developing and validating microbiological methods.  Bird is an active member of the food safety community, serving in numerous roles including manufacturing and laboratory management.  His focus is in diagnostic methods for microbiology, allergens, and mycotoxins. This work included independent laboratory evaluations for AOAC Official Methods of AnalysisSM (OMA), AOAC RI Performance Tested MethodsSM Program, and MicroVal and AFNOR NF Certification Programs. Bird has been an active member in AOAC INTERNATIONAL for 10 years, currently serving as lead for the microbiology community for AOAC’s Technical Programming Council. He is an active member of the U.S. ISO/TC34/SC9 delegation and serves on two working groups: WG3 for Method Validation and WG19 for Guidelines for Conducting Challenge Studies. He holds a BS in Microbiology from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, USA, and an MS in Food Safety from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, USA.