Press Releases

Bioplastics Verification Now Push-Button Easy with Picarro CM- CRDS: Check Percentage of Bio-Content in Minutes, No Lab Required

Sunnyvale, CA – April 1, 2010: Bioplastics are one of the fastest growing segments of the plastics and packaging industries. Numerous large consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have announced campaigns to integrate bioplastics into their packaging footprint. Picarro's Combustion Module-Cavity-Ring Down Spectrometer (CM-CRDS) system for stable carbon isotope analysis makes it push-button simple for companies to verify the bioplastics composition of polymers or finished materials in the supply chain, on the factory floor, or at a distributor's warehouse. Previously, this type of measurement required testing in specialized labs, a costly interruption that reduced throughput and increased cycle times. Picarro gives both customers and plastic manufacturers a critical tool to ensure that bioplastics content claims can be easily and conclusively verified in a matter of minutes without interrupting ongoing production processes.

Picarro's CM-CRDS system is a compact, table-top spectroscopy-based solution that delivers high-precision and high-accuracy composition ratio measurements (down to the 5% concentration level ) of bioplastics in roughly ten minutes. The rugged CM-CRDS can run unattended for hours in a lab. or field settings, including a high-capacity auto-sampler, Picarro CM-CRDS customers can test as many as 147 plastic samples consecutively without any human intervention (See application note).  Requiring minimal training and set-up time, a Picarro's CM-CRDS system can be operated by technicians with average technical skills.

These features make the CM-CRDS a unique offering for verifying plastics composition at a fraction of the cost of existing isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) testing systems. Comparable IRMS systems cost at least 3 times more than the Picarro CM-CRDS. Unlike Picarro's solution, IRMS also requires advanced technical know-how and suffers significantly higher down-times. All told, the Picarro CM-CRDS is the best solution on the market today for quick, affordable and accurate verification of plastics bio-to-fossil composition ratios.

Picarro's feature set enables a plethora of new carbon-based Bulk Stable Isotope Analysis (BSIA) applications, that wouldn't otherwise be possible and expand the use of stable carbon isotope techniques into new scientific applications and research initiatives. “Our bioplastics verification system offers the best combination of ease-of-use, reliability, and performance,” says Picarro CEO Michael Woelk. “As the world moves towards replacing petroplastics with bioplastics, companies need to be sure that their marketing and sustainability claims can be backed up by rock-solid measurements.”

The CM-CRDS system is Picarro's fully-integrated solution for BSIA using 13C/12C ratio analysis, leveraging Picarro's respected Isotopic CO2 Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) technology. The CO2 generated by the combustion process is fed via Picarro's high-throughput Liaison interface into the Isotopic CO2 analyzer. Liaison manages several processes in parallel, such as feeding one sample into the CRDS, while collecting the CO2 from a second sample, for maximum sample throughput. Even though isotope ratio measurement with CM-CRDS doesn't require the pulsing of a CO2 reference gas of known isotope ratio for each sample analysis (unlike IRMS), CM-CRDS allows the admission of a reference gas at the beginning of a sample sequence in order to offer researchers transitioning from IRMS more confidence in their analyses. CM-CRDS is software-controlled via various utilities accessible through desktop icons installed on Picarro's G1101-i analyzer. Users can connect remotely and control the instrument through a standard Remote Desktop connection or with similar remote login software. Specified precision is guaranteed by running a series of 10 pulses of CO2 standard gas at 3000ppm in N2 and with 6 replicates of combusted USGS40 solid standards of (L-glutamic acid).

Picarro analyzers are manufactured at the company's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters and exported to countries worldwide. Backed by Picarro's proven CRDS technology, Picarro's analyzers provide the technological breakthrough that delivers to life science companies key solutions to enhance their production processes, increase their productivity and uptime, and capture precise measurements quickly and easily.