Below is a listing of basic considerations when submitting a sample or answers to 'often'-raised questions regarding reports, invoicing, sample disposal, etc. By no means is this brief site meant to cover all aspects that may arise with the large possible number of sample types and matrixes. Realizing this, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
- Initial Considerations
- University of Missouri EIN (W-9 Form)
- Sample Quantities and Supplement Declaration
- Turnaround Times & Expediting Analyses
- Sample Labeling
- Packing Slip
- Packaging Samples
- Shipping Method
- Shipping Address
- Sample Receiving
- Sample Storage & Returning Samples
- Sample Disposal
- Analytical Reports
- Client, PI, Confidentiality& Discussion of Results
- Invoicing & Minimum Charges
- Analytical Charges
- Academics - Referencing methods
Often times, an initial stumbling block is encountered when employing an analytical service. This may be due to a client (to include Principle Investigator) not knowing how much sample to send, in having some uncertainty in selecting a test or in choosing one of multiple numbers of possible tests for the same analyte, or not knowing what procedures might even be required. Also, it is possible that a required method or analytical procedure is not seen as being offered as a choice, that there are concerns regarding confidentiality, or there are other unknown issues. At the Experiment Station Chemical Laboratories (ESCL) we are just as committed to our role as an educational resource as we are to being an open analytical service resource. The listings within this website present the most requested official and research analytical procedures that we are asked to perform. Please contact the Director of the ESCL if you should require further information on any analysis listed in this brochure or wish to discuss other analytical tests not listed here. We encourage dialogue regarding your samples.
Throughout our current academic or corporate price catalog (request), minimum sample amounts are indicated for 'crude' grain and feed tests. Please note that these are guidelines for single-run assays and do not reflect the actual amount required to perform an assay nor that the samples are being submitted already ground and deemed by the client to be ready for assay. These amounts do take into account the requirements to produce a homogeneous sample to be assayed. Multiple assays will generally require much less than the cumulative minimum values for all the requested assays. For example, for many feeds and foods requiring proximates and amino acid analysis, several ounces of a sample is generally sufficient. This permits ample sample for grinding and mixing to help eliminate sample variation prior to weighing and analysis. Larger sample quantities should be sent if one is requesting a variety of analyses, i.e., proximates, amino acid, mineral and certain vitamin analyses. Some assays may require even larger samplings, such as those for water which may need quart or gallon size submittals.
In all cases, known supplements and samples of 'reagent-grade' are to be delared. If supplements are present but unknown, this should be indicated on the packing slip. The primary reason for this requirement relates to employing the correct concentration of internal/external standards for the accurate measurement of the supplement which is often many times the amount naturally found in the sample. Not declaring a supplement commonly results in significant delays in analysis and undesired reanalysis expense.
If you are in doubt regarding the amount of sample to submit, or how to declare supplements, please contact the Director of the ESCL to discuss your sample.
Under typical conditions, average standard turnaround times for average sized sample submittals, 12 or less, reports are generally within 10-12 working days. Seasonal delays and University observed holidays do impact on these turnaround times. While samples requiring very little preparation or few analyses may be reported sooner, large number of samples in a group, samples requiring many or complex analyses, freeze-drying, and hazardous samples will require more time. Achievement of high precision and accuracy in our assays also dictate our analytical effort and time and thus make it impossible for us to guarantee a specific turnaround time.
It should be noted that samples are analyzed in the order that they are received at the ESCL.
To achieve the optimum turn-around time at any given time for a sample(s) needing to be rushed, you may want to consider ‘expediting’ your sample. The additional charge for ‘expediting‘ a sample is 50% of the normal analytical charges. The minimum billing charge for expedited samples is $75. As noted above for 'standard turn-around time', 'expedited' samples are analyzed in the order that they are received at the ESCL.
Clearly label each sample with sufficient information in order to readily discriminate it from other samples within your shipment. Lables have to be ledgible. Ideally, this label should use some form of a permanent ink that can withstand shipping, handling and any storage requirements, and be written on a contrasting background for easy reading. If possible, try to avoid sample labels that are complex, i.e., more than 10 characters. When it is unavoidable, it is recommended that an additional unique identification number or letters of 10 characters or less be included on each label. Sequential numbering or lettering (or both) work best; such as 24567, 24568, 24569..., etc., or, ABC234, ABC235, ABC236..., etc. This can readily be accomplished in a computer spreadsheet (ex., Excel, QuatroPro) which can then be saved and a copy submitted with the samples or via email. Please call if you need assistance in making a sequential spreadsheet.
Remember, ALWAYS maintain a copy of your sample labels, codes and packing slips.
Include on the packing slip, and supporting paperwork, the following basic information:
-Client's name (if not the sender), address, telephone #, and eMail address
-University submittals must declare the Prinicipal Investigator's name & email address -To whom original report is to be sent, if different from sender.
-Employee Identification Number (EIN) if you are submitting samples for the first time. Remember, never provide your social security number in lieu of an EIN.
-Number of samples in the package
-List of sample labels and sample sources....(i.e, soybean meal, corn gluten, etc.)
-Analyses requested....(prioritize requested analyses when submitting limited sample)
-Estimated range(s) of supplements to be analyzed must be declared.
-Indicate analysis on an 'as is' or 'dry' basis.....(moisture required for 'dry' basis)
-Indicate if other than single run analyses are needed (ex., duplicate, etc) (stated charges are for single run analyses)
-Any special sample handling/storage instructions
-Standard or ‘Expedited’ turnaround time.....(see above)
-Any known hazardous aspects of the sample(s)
-NOTE: fecal material, if raw, or not dried, is not acceptable.
-Purchase Order Number and Billing Address.....(indicate if using a credit card)
-Corporate and University email addresses for correspondence should end in ".com" or ".edu", respectively.
For your convenience, a basic sample packing slip is downloadable as an Adobe®
portable document format file (pdf). Alternatively, you may request copies be sent to you, please let us know.
When preparing samples for shipping it is strongly suggested that shatter-proof containers be used. Whirl-Paks and Ziplock bags, etc., are generally ideal for feeds and moist samples, whereas sturdy screw-top plastic or other sealable containers, placed in ZipLock bags, if possible, are preferred for liquids. Though glass containers should generally be avoided, we realize that there are times that they have to be utilized. If you need to employ glass containers it is best to follow these guidelines: 1) use the smallest size glass container required for the sample, 2) individually wrap each glass container with some form of padding, 3) package the wrapped glass containers with sufficient space-filling padding within a sturdy box in such a way that each wrapped glass container is separate from other glass containers, and 4) secure the box with strapping tape and clearly label the box in bold letters "FRAGILE". As noted above for liquids, placing the glass containers in ZipLock bags, or similar bag with closure, will provide further security for your sample in shipment.
When large sample numbers are to be submitted, please package the samples so as to minimize the need for sorting. Drawing analysts from the work areas to sort samples has a strong negative effect on everyone's turnaround times. Samples requiring considerable sorting may not be logged-in on the day of arrival and may also incur a sorting charge.
Samples requiring refrigeration should be sent in boxed styrofoam containers, or the like, and kept cold with sealed ice packets or maintained frozen with dry ice. Such samples should be sent via a Next Day courier service. If included in your purchase order or billing, such shipping containers can be returned to you for reuse.
If you have some questions about the best method of packaging your samples, where to find packaging materials, or any related subject matter, please contact the Director at 573-882-2608.
More often than not, the courier and method one chooses to mail a package containing samples for analyses reflects the degree of urgency the client has in having the analyses completed. Almost all couriers offer different levels of delivery speed at varying costs. Weekday services to the ESCL include UPS, Federal Express, USPS, DHL, Airborne Express. Please note that if you are requesting expedited analyses then a 'next day' shipping service should be considered.
Shipping Address: Please address samples for analysis to:
Experiment Station Chemical Laboratories
Room 4 Agriculture Building
University of Missouri - Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211-7170
Once samples are received, and accepted, by the Experiment Station Chemical Laboratories (ESCL) they are checked for integrity and accuracy, logged, and then bar coded to associate both the sample label and client with an ESCL sample number. Once completed, the samples then undergo any preliminary preparation such as drying, grinding, fat extraction, etc., that might be required in order to perform the requested analyses. In general, analyses will be performed on an 'as is' basis. The request for data to be presented on a ‘dry weight’ basis requires a moisture assay to be performed.
Unless otherwise directed, and sample stability permits, and storage room is available, the Experiment Station Chemical Laboratories (ESCL) will maintain submitted samples for routine analysis for thirty-five (35) days after the analytical report has been forwarded to the client. Notable exceptions to this retention policy are applied to unstable samples, lagoon samples, sludge, biological waste products, rancid materials, etc., which will be maintained, if possible, at -20°C for fourteen (14) days following a report. It is the client's responsibility to indicate special storage requirements prior to, or at the time of, sample submittal. In the absence of instruction, and in order to maintain any storage costs at a minimum, it is the general policy of the ESCL to store submitted and analyzed samples under the same environmental conditions in which they were shipped, unless doing so would knowingly do harm to the sample. The ESCL is capable of storing samples at room temperature or at temperatures of 4°C, -20°C and -80°C (or 39°F, -4°F, -112°F, respectively). Samples requiring long-term storage will incur an additional cost that is not reflected in our standard analytical charges.
In addition to storage within the ESCL, submitted samples can be returned to the client, at their request (see below), though there are limitations in some cases.
**Consideration of requesting the return of samples should be carefully weighed, as questions related to past reported results cannot be addressed with reanalysis of samples, or portion of submitted samples, if they are removed from our custody. Once samples are removed from our chain-of-custody, samples resubmitted for analysis will be handled as new sample submittals; unrelated to any past reported results. It is essential that reported results be carefully checked by the requesting client. A 'holding period', noted below, allows for this time, since once samples are returned to the client the reported results are considered 'acceptable' and 'final' by the client.
It is the policy of the ESCL to hold all samples for a minimum of 2 weeks following an analytical report before returning the samples. This permits time for the requesting client to view the results and pose any related questions. Of course, once the data is viewed, a client may elect to have the samples returned sooner. In all cases, as noted above, where samples are returned, it is understood that the results have met expectations. Again, please note that returned samples resubmitted for analysis will be treated as new submittals and assigned new ESCL numbers, tested and charged appropriately.
In order for a honor a request for the return of samples the following is required:
- a completed FedEx or UPS shipping form with your account number
- a sturdy shipping container that is reusable for the return of your samples
- samples must be in sealable, non-fragile containers.
We cannot return hazardous materials.
At the end of a designated storage period all retained ground/unground portions of biological samples analyzed at the ESCL are sealed and packaged in bulk and then collected by MU Environmental Health & Safety for disposal. Required records to document the destruction of a specific sample must be made known at the time of sample submittal.
When analytical work is completed, a preliminary report is compiled and checked. The reviewed report is then sent to the client and are report folder is filed and eventually archived for a period of 3 years. As noted below, academic laboratories (not corporate, or other) should clearly declare who is the Principal Investigator (PI).
The client is always encouraged to ask any questions regarding their report and related analyses. Arrangements with the client to inspect/review data and SOPs at the ESCL, related to their report, can be made. Please be mindful that the ESCL is foremost an academic entity, defined by an active academic calendar, related events and regulatory requirements. For anything more than a simple sample/report review by the client, and in light of our limited resources, it is easier for the ESCL to accomodate times that can be arranged earlier within a calendar year (i.e., January-April). This include audits, of any kind, that have been declared upon sample submission and for which appropriate charges were levied. As noted below in Analytical Charges, standard analytical charges DO NOT include these services.
Though the ESCL has a standard hardcopy format, computer data may be reported in spreadsheet or word processor formats when specified at the time of sample submittal. Also, if requested for larger groups of samples, we can place this information on computer disk or CD. Many ESCL clients elect to receive preliminary copies of their analytical results for review by email. Please indicate if you would like to have preliminary copies sent to you. In all cases, official hardcopy reports are forwarded by USPS First Class Mail, unless other arrangements are requested at the time of sample submittal.
Lastly, all logos, seals, University art-work, etc., are strictly the property of the University of Missouri. No use of these entities and of the "University of Missouri" are permitted in any context, nor can they be taken, for any reason (implied or inferred) to officially endorse any analytical results.
'Client' is defined as being the named person (or titled position) to whom the analytical report is sent. Also, the ESCL maintains a confidentiality policy regarding all client's sample(s) and report. All reasonable efforts are taken to maintain confidentiality for all correspondence and records. Notably, though, permissible disclosure, such as those required by law, court order, or by official University inquiry, are understood. Should such disclosures be requested, or made, prompt notification of the effort will be made to the 'client'.
Principle Investigators(commonly referred to as "PI") of academic laboratories (University, other educational) must clearly be declared. This is rarely a difficulty for academic institutions. If we have any questions we will normally contact you via disclosed information on your submittal form or submittal letter. In cases where there are multiple PIs, though, or the report is to be received by a key laboratory technician or undergraduate / graduate student, it is always best to identify the primary PI. Once declared, the academic PI is automatically considered a principal with whom reported results may be discussed with the ESCL Director.
For all non-academic institutions (corporate, business, or other), the definition of 'client' cannot be altered, transferred or expanded to include any third party, i.e., employers, corporations, collaborators, department, etc. Our normal ESCL charges are for analytical services, only. It is the responsibility of the client, not the ESCL, to convey this information to all other known and unknown third-parties. In the absense of both a reasonable circumstance(s) expressed by the client, and with the ESCL Director's written approval, requests for any analytical report to be sent to an additional recipient will not be considered.
It is always the ESCL's understanding that the 'client' receiving a report is solely responsible for the dissemination of the analytical results in the report. This same policy also dictates that the client is the sole conduit, if applicable, for any-and-all report-related third party questions. The ESCL cannot be responsible for any client-to-third party discussions, whether or not the third-party was intended, or otherwise. As noted above, the client is always strongly encouraged to ask any questions regarding their report, regardless of origin.
When analytical results are completed, a hardcopy official report is prepared and mailed directly to the client. At this time, a University of Missouri invoice is prepared by listing the requested analyses and their respective charges. These invoices are then sent to the University Financial Office for disbursement. These invoices, in turn, are sent to the clients for payment using a Purchase Order Number (PO#) or by credit card. When payments are to be made by credit card, DO NOT place you credit card number on the packing slip. Timely payment of the invoice is greatly appreciated.
Minimum Billing: The minimum billing charge for standard reports is $55. Expedited requests have a minimum billing charge of $75.
It is always understood that total liabilities, if any, and for any reason, cannot exceed the cost of performing the requested analyses.
Current academic or corporate price lists for standard analytical services are available by e-mail. Indicated charges are for single run analyses. Though the ESCL makes every attempt to maintain low prices, they are subject to change without notice.
Standard analytical charges are for standard analyses and the client report. They do not include any additional documentations other than the standard ESCL maintenance of the analytical folders and associated analytical files of each report. Additional requirements, such as those required for studies to meet CFR-Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 stipulations, or other QA/QC requirements, need to be declared and appropriate charges agreed to prior to sample submittal(s). If these charges are declined, or in the absence of such charges being levied, normal ESCL protocols are observed.
When referencing methods like the one for the Association of Official Analytical Chemists, International, the preferred method of referencing in Journal is "Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC INTERNATIONAL (2005) 18th Ed., AOAC INTERNATIONAL, Gaithersburg, MD, USA, Official Method 999.13."