May 10, 2021

What's in Your Supplement?

Deformulation of a Curcumin Nutraceutical By LCMS

Curcumin nutraceutical.jpg

Turmeric, the orange-yellow root of the Curcuma longa, has been used as a spice, medicine, and dye for at least 4,500 years. Turmeric consists of hundreds of compounds, but the curcuminoid curcumin is a major component of most commercial extracts. Although recent lab and animal research has found curcumin to contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities, curcumin’s efficacy in human trials remains controversial, and trials have been limited due to its lack of oral bioavailability and rapid plasma clearance.  

Drug vs. Supplement 

Although the pharmaceutical industry has thus far viewed curcumin as a poor therapeutic agent, the nutraceutical industry does not have to prove efficacy to market curcumin for the treatment of disease. Because dietary supplements are not subject to the same FDA regulations as pharmaceuticals, there are currently no requirements that supplement labels be proven accurate or truthful. As a result, some marketed supplements contain less, or sometimes none, of the active ingredient they claim to contain.  

In a recent application note, Cambridge Polymer Group used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to evaluate the curcuminoid content of a curcumin supplement relative to the claims made on the label. 

Product Deformulation  

Samples were obtained from a commercial supplement with a label indicating 180 mg of curcumin per capsule. Curcumin purchased from Sigma Aldrich was used as a control.  The percentage of curcumin in the control was consistent with the percentage reported by Sigma Aldrich's label.  

However, CPG found 40% less curcumin in the commercial curcumin supplement than advertised on its label. This deformulation shows that it is important for manufacturers to screen incoming raw materials for purity using validated testing techniques.  

Additionally, manufacturers can voluntarily submit products for certification by either the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or National Science Foundation (NSF). A seal from either of these groups indicates that the consumer can trust that the product has been verified to contain the ingredients listed. As an ISO 17025 accredited and 9001 certified lab, CPG can test to USP standards and certify results. 

Read more

Posted by CatherineCerasuolo
January 27, 2021

Molecular Weight of Dextran by USP Method


Dextran, a polysaccharide made from glucose, is widely used in the medical field for treatment of shock, as an antithrombotic agent, to reduce blood viscosity, and as an anticoagulant. The two most common forms are dextran 40 and dextran 70 (the 40 and 70 refer to their molecular weights, nominally 40,000 and 70,000 g/mol).

The USP monographs for dextran 40 and 70 describe a specific gel permeation chromatography approach that differs in success criteria from other GPC methods, and requires a unique GPC system setup and data analysis method. To qualify a dextran formulation under these USP guidelines, the material must be tested by this GPC method.

A calibration curve is constructed with dextrose and five dextran standards of known molecular weights, using either a Gauss-Newton method or the Nilsson-Nilsson method to determine the constants in the expression below for each of the standards based on their reported molecular weights Mi.

Mi = b5 + exp(b4 + b1Ki + b2Ki2 + b3Ki3)

Each of the standards must meet a rigorous accuracy check to ensure the GPC system is adequately set up to test the specific dextran samples and to ensure they meet the requirements of the USP monographs. Once the equipment is properly validated by this method, the samples can be tested.

CPG is experienced in this USP test method for dextran GPC analysis. Contact one of our scientists for more information.

Posted by CatherineCerasuolo
December 24, 2020

The Gift of the Methyl Group Magi


A CPG twist on a holiday classic, with happier results

Paraxanthine and Theophylline sat at their Thanksgiving table.
“What have I got to be thankful for?” grumbled Xan. “No one’s ever heard of me. Caffeine gets all the hype, even though I’m more potent with less of the negative side effects. I want to be recognized for being better at blocking adenosine receptors. I want to see my formula on t-shirts and mugs! I want to be the name people whisper desperately as they stumble towards their kitchens.”
“If you don’t like your life, change it,” suggested Theo.
“Self-help mantras are well and good for humans, but what’s an organic compound to do? The holidays are so depressing. Another year gone by, and what have I got to show for it?”
While Xan continued to whine about the winter of her discontent, Theo googled “Formulation and Chemical Synthesis” and requested a quote from Cambridge Polymer Group.
Theo announced, “Xan, I’m going out now to get you a present. I’ll be back in 10-15 days.”
This revelation distracted Xan from her navel gazing. “Theo is getting me a gift??? I wonder what it could be?”
Ten days later, FedEx left a package on Xan’s doorstep. She rushed out to grab the box, which was almost stolen by porch pirates.
“Maybe it’s Theo’s present,” Xan thought excitedly. She opened the package and nearly lost her electrons when Theo jumped out of the box.
“Theo, is that really you?” Xan eyed him suspiciously, “You look a little different…”
“Here Xan,” said the Caffeine formerly known as Theo, “Have a carbon dihydride. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
“Oh, thanks so much,” gushed Xan, as she accepted his gift. “But now I’m Caffeine and you’re not, and I have nothing to give you.”
“That’s OK, Xan-I mean, Caff. I gave you my position 1 carbon dihydride, so I’m Theobromine now. We can be chocolate together.”
Box of chocolates.jpg

Total ion chromatogram of 4 chocolate samples showing peaks of caffeine and theobromine in water extraction.

Posted by CatherineCerasuolo
July 13, 2020

New Standard on Qualification of Polymeric Materials Used for Additive Manufacturing


ISO and ASTM are drafting a new standard on qualification of polymeric materials used for additive manufacturing using powder bed fusion (ISO/ASTM DIS 52925:2020). This standard is focused on polyamide 12 and 11, but the standard may be applicable to other polymeric materials.

The standard discusses the following test methods:

  1. Particle size
  2. Residual monomer
  3. Relative humidity
  4. Melt flow index
  5. Molecular weight (either by GPC or dilute solution viscometry)
  6. Melting and crystallization temperature by DSC

These tests are all performed by Cambridge Polymer Group, and can be used to qualify new material or requalify used material. Contact us for more information.

Posted by CatherineCerasuolo
July 8, 2020

Reprocessing Personal Protective Equipment


The ASTM workshop on Reprocessing Personal Protective Equipment (September 9-10, 2020, virtual workshop) is looking for presentations on the following topics:

  • Methods/guides/practices to address reprocessing single use PPE and reusable PPE (including N95 respirators, personal face masks, protective clothing and coverings, etc.):
    • Current issues with decontaminating single use PPE
        • Cleaning
        • Index matching
        • Collection and distribution
        • Loss of efficacy
        • Degradation of components
        • Tracking number of re-uses
    • Cleaning/decontamination/sterilization
        • New sterilization/disinfection methods – chlorine dioxide, etc.
        • Assessing performance of the reprocessed device, including feedback from healthcare providers who have used reprocessed devices
        • Effects of bioburden on re-use, for disinfection and perception
    • Standards used
        • Existing: ASTM, NIOSH and other
          • Include limitations, such as multiple decontaminations
          • Novel test methods introduced by researchers during the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Methods/guides/practices for producing and or assessing performance of devices and device components that are in short supply
    • e.g. masks, respirators, and face shields
    • Both traditional device designs and novel designs using materials that are at hand
    • Redesigning single use PPE for potential re-use during surges
    • Discussion of FDA Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs),
        • For current EUAs, the impact on supply chain and on products/methods covered by current EUAs.
        • Considerations needed to continue product access upon EUA expiration including impacts on the supply chain and on products/methods covered by current EUAs.
  • Share perspectives on how existing standards helped you in addressing device shortages or how they could have been of more assistance

Abstract Submittal

To participate in the workshop, your 300-word abstract is due no later than July 26, 2020. Please see the ASTM symposium page for submission instructions.

Posted by CatherineCerasuolo
June 1, 2020

Like Water off a Thorny Devil's Back

Thorny Devil.jpg

Australian thorny devil 

Lizard Surface Energy Wetting

The Australian thorny devil (meloch horridus) is a desert-going lizard that has developed an impressive application of transport phenomenon to make the most of a limited source of water in the arid regions it inhabits.[1] The lizard has a skin surface that contains a continuous series of micro-channels that are capable of transporting water by capillary action towards the lizard’s mouth. As the lizard crawls over and under vegetation that contains droplets of dew, it effectively collects this water all over its body, allowing it to drink on the run. The lizard’s mouth, suitable for eating ants, is not adapted to drink water directly, necessitating this curious mode of drinking.

Capillary Transport in Nature

Capillary transport is quite common in nature. It is the mechanism by which water is moved from the roots of trees up to its leaves.  It is the means that our eyes drain tear fluid through the narrow tear ducts in our eyelids. This ability results from the attractive nature that water molecules have for each other, termed the forces of cohesion. This cohesion leads to surface tension, or the resistance of the surface of a liquid to an external force, such as a solid object penetrating the liquid. This tensile force causes the liquid to form a meniscus when placed in a narrow capillary, and if sufficient adhesion occurs between the water and the capillary wall, the water will be pulled along in the capillary, even overcoming the force of gravity if the capillary diameter is sufficiently small.

While this mode of drinking may appear convenient, one could argue that the quaffable benefits of the thorny devil's capillary-driven drinking mechanical are outstripped by the social liability of its crenulated dermis. But from a surface science point of view, the thorny devil has arrived at a low energy, high efficiency method of harvesting water.

For more information on surface energy measurements, contact Cambridge Polymer Group or visit our website.


[1] Comanns et al. “Adsorption and movement of water by skin of the Australian thorny devil (Agamidae: Moloch horridus),” (2017)


Posted by MaryOsward
May 18, 2020

CPG Returns to Fully Open Status

CPG is now fully open and able to work on ALL projects; we are no longer limited to COVID-19 response or projects essential for medical emergency staff. Turnaround times may still be affected due to the need to social distance.

Cambridge Polymer Group is in compliance with Massachusetts Governor Baker's May 18th re-opening schedule. CPG has been deemed an essential business, and has implemented all safety precautions stipulated by the re-opening order, as well as additional safety measures.

CPG COVID-19 Visitor Policy

Cambridge Polymer Group is committed to providing a safe environment for our employees and visitors. For the protection of all, we’ve implemented the following requirements:

Upon entering the facility, all persons must:

  • Have a face mask or covering
  • Undergo a temperature and symptom screening
  • Promptly wash hands
  • Comply with social distancing practices at all times

While in the laboratory, all persons must:

  • Wear proper personal protective equipment including gloves and safety glasses
  • Wash hands upon exiting

In addition to these requirements, Cambridge Polymer Group has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of the workplace. These policies and procedures have been implemented to reduce transmission risks and protect our workforce. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Dropping Off Samples

If you are dropping off samples and do not need to enter our office or lab space, follow these steps:

  1. Notify your CPG contact of the time you intend to drop off samples.
  2. Enter the 56 Roland Street building at the North Lobby entrance. Take the stairs or the elevator to the third floor. Follow the signs to Cambridge Polymer Group.
  3. Leave your samples and SSF form on the stool to the left of CPG's door, under the USPS/UPS/Fedex sign. We will retrieve them after you leave.

Best wishes,

Cambridge Polymer Group

Posted by CatherineCerasuolo