Lab Supplies Vital to Medicine, Research, and Food Quality Testing

The importance of the laboratory and the huge diversity of lab supplies upon which so many disciplines of science are now crucially dependant, has never been greater. Today the demands placed upon such establishments continue to grow, driven by each advance in the application of a seemingly endless stream of emerging new technologies. Of course, the demand would have risen anyway, given a world in which the total population now exceeds the 7 billion mark and this has meant that the major challenge facing acceptable quantitative and qualitative testing procedures has been to simplify them and to speed up their action.

However, it has also been important to recognise that improved speed and simplicity alone are insufficient, and that qualities such as specificity, sensitivity, and reproducibility are each just as vital to the design of an effective product. The overall requirement for today’s lab supplies can, then, be best summarised as having their basis in proven reliable technologies while maintaining the exceptionally high-quality performance standards that are necessary to apply them successfully. In almost all cases, these needs are being met by long-established international companies that choose to specialise in developing the methods relevant to just one or perhaps two of the various disciplines in which laboratory testing is now seen as critical.

One obvious example is the stringent quality control measures that are now demanded of the food industry. Mandatory labelling requirements, for instance, compel producers to list, and in some cases, to quantitate the nutritional and other compounds contained in their products. In addition, preparation areas and those responsible for the handling of ingredients may also need to be tested for the presence of bacterial and other pathogens that could be transmitted to the consumer. Among the lab supplies used by the producers and purveyors of food and beverages are test kits and instruments to screen for, and even to identify, microbial contaminants within hours rather than taking days, as would have been the case with traditional culture methods.

Medicine and medical research, however, probably rank highest among the various disciplines that have benefited from these technological advances. Test kits that can be used as a rapid screening procedure for the possible presence of some forms of malignancy are just one of those benefits. In practice, certain of these advances have led to the birth of new sub-disciplines. One of these is assisted human reproduction, a field that has called for the development of all manner of equipment and materials such as those employed for cryogenic purposes and necessary to maintain the male and female gametes and, in time, the embryos created by in-vitro fertilisation, in a viable state prior to implantation.

The producers of dairy products, vintners, brewers, the pharmaceutical industry, and even those responsible for ensuring that our water supply remains potable, are all among those dependent upon a continuous flow of various high-quality lab supplies. In South Africa, pursuits such as these, like medicine, teaching, and research, are frequently dependent upon IEPSA to service their needs. Sourcing world-class products only from leading international companies and possessing the skills and practical experience to assist and guide its clients, IEPSA is proud to be counted among the leading sources of these vital products in the country.

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