The FBS Technologies’ unique properties are determined by both the source material and the actual production processes.
There are expected variations in the natural organic material (NOM) used as source materials for the FBS Technologies depending upon the time of year and the environmental conditions. Our proprietary production processes used to target, extract, refine, and concentrate the appropriate compounds impact the composition of the final technologies and minimize their variability. Subsets of compounds within the FBS Technologies have been shown to lead to desired plant responses, and different subsets provide different responses. That is how we know the proper ratio of the various compounds needed in each production batch to produce specific plant responses.
After many years of research on the effect of various production parameters on the chemistry and biological responses of the FBS Technologies, we have optimized the production parameters to produce consistent products that can be confirmed with the quality control program that is in place. We have made advances necessary to achieve a degree of quality control that has never before been seen for products derived from natural sources.
For quality control purposes, there are two primary measurements used to determine if one of the FBS Technologies is within specification.
The first is the active ingredient concentration itself determined by total organic carbon (TOC) analysis.
For the second, we measure various metals found within our product. The concentration of these metals is determined by either flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS) or inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP/OES). This parameter is monitored in the source material and throughout the process to achieve a consistent product.
For quality control, we use a total organic carbon (TOC) analyzer, flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS), and UV/Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy. These analyses allow us to understand a sample’s composition and how it either differs from or conforms to a given standard.
The Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer (FTICR-MS) at Old Dominion University (ODU) features a 10 Tesla magnet that provides mass resolving powers of 600,000. With this ultrahigh resolution, we can use advanced software to determine the unique molecular formulas associated with that particular sample of NOM. Using sophisticated statistical programs, we compare samples against each other, then correlate these results to biological activity on plants in the growth chamber, greenhouse, and field.
Principal component analysis (PCA) is a statistical method that we utilize to compare a group of samples once they have been analyzed by FTICR-MS or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). This allows us to see how similar they are or how different they are from one another. For example, by using FTICR-MS data from a large number of samples and applying PCA to the data, we can see how various production batches are substantially similar. In contrast, samples from other source materials, or produced with a different process, are quite different. PCA assists in identifying even the most subtle of differences. This is very crucial for our quality control process to ensure that product performance is consistent from batch to batch.
With NMR and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), we look at the carbon backbones of natural organic matter samples and the important functional groups. The backbone and functional groups vary considerably from product to product. Therefore, we need to understand them to compare product samples against each other. The structure of the carbon backbone and the functional groups present like phenols, quinones, and carboxyl groups can then be correlated to the biological responses of the plants. This is another key to consistency in the field.