Colorado Cannabis Testing

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PhytaTech Now Offers a HPLC Method

PhytaTech is proud to announce it now offers a HPLC method, which detects and quantitates Aflatoxins and Ochratoxin A (OTA) in cannabis flowers and concentrates!

The specific molecules included in our internally validated method are:

1.    Aflatoxin B1
2.    Aflatoxin G1
3.    Aflatoxin B2
4.    Aflatoxin G2
5.    Ochratoxin A


Aflatoxins and ochratoxins are secondary metabolites created by certain Aspergillus fungal species and are known carcinogens in extremely low levels. Aflatoxins have been classified as group 1 carcinogens, which is the highest classification a substance can receive. A statistically significant increase in the incidence of hepatocellular (liver) cancer has been linked to aflatoxin exposure at 20 parts per billion (ppb) and higher.


They exhibit their genotoxic effects by altering the human p53 tumor suppressor gene and by binding to albumin (an abundant drug binding protein in blood). Common testing protocols exist in other industries to monitor these dangerous small molecules as food products enter the human consumption chain. The FDA mandates that food products intended for human consumption must not exceed 20 ppb for total aflatoxins. Aflatoxin testing in cannabis is mandated in other states such as Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, and New Mexico. These states have limits of 20 ppb for aflatoxins and OTA.


Although OTA testing is not mandated by the FDA, the European Commission has set Ochratoxin A limits from as low as 0.5 ppb to 80 ppb depending on the food classification (cereal-based infant food and licorice extract, for example). OTA has been linked to a specific, fatal kidney disease called Balkan Endemic Nephropathy. Other processes involved with OTA that contribute to its carcinogenicity involve its ability to cause breaks in DNA strands and inhibit DNA repair mechanisms.


These molecules are heat stable and maintain their molecular structures at temperatures below 160°C. Therefore, it is important to know whether these harmful substances exist in any harvest batch prior to any processing of cannabis material. If they are present in cannabis flower, then they can be concentrated during the extraction process to make cannabis concentrates and eventually consumed in cannabis edibles!


Importantly, through genomic testing, we have detected the fungal strains known to produce these molecules in Colorado cannabis flowers! Don’t delay, ensure your products are safe for human consumption.

PhytaTech asks for samples sizes of 1.0 gram for both flowers and concentrates to perform this testing. Feel free to call the lab if you would like to know more about our procedures for Aflatoxin and Ochratoxin testing at PhytaTech. If you’d like to hear more about our value-added test capabilities, tests we’re bringing on line, or our long-term projects, please contact us.

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