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State of Alaska > DEC > EH > Laboratory Services > Lab Sample Submission Manual > Capabilities 

Lab Sample Submission Manual:
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Lab Techs

Molecular Biology

The advent of real time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (rt-RTPCR) technology has revolutionized the laboratory industry by enabling rapid analysis of samples for a wide variety of organisms such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus. EHL also uses rapid analysis technology to detect food pathogens such as E. coli, botulism, and salmonella. We have invested in the most automated sample preparation and rt-RTPCR technology available, enabling EHL scientists the ability to analyze hundreds of samples daily.



CultureClassical microbiological techniques remain the “Gold Standard” for determination of many pathogens that impact food safety and public health. EHL employs a team of microbiologists and technicians with extensive experience in the isolation of dangerous organisms from food and water. Examples of organisms isolated by EHL microbiologists include fecal coliforms, E. coli, Listeria spp., Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Salmonella spp., Staphylcoccus aureus, and other pathogenic organisms.


Marine Toxins

Clams The Alaskan Shellfish industry is a major supplier of fresh shellfish to markets around the world. EHL supports this industry by providing rapid turn around time analyses for known marine toxins such as Paralytic Shellfish Poison (also known as PSP), Domoic Acid, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and other pathogens.



CowHelping ensure the wholesomeness of our state’s dairy industry is a big part of EHL’s mission. EHL is certified by the FDA and undergoes a rigorous certification program to make sure our testing program meets the highest standards of accuracy. Our dairy testing program includes analysis of milk, cheese, butter and many other dairy products for a variety of bacterial and chemical contaminants. These testing services are provided to the Office of the State Veterinarian for regulatory and investigative purposes.


Analytical Chemistry

Measurement of trace levels of heavy metals, pesticides, methylmercury and a host of other toxic chemical compounds in seafood and ready to eat foods is a routine activity for the EHL. Technologies such as Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), Mass Spectrometry (MS), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and Gas Chromatography (GC) are used at EHL to ensure that the foods we eat are safe and wholesome.

Lab Work

EHL has implemented novel “hyphenated” techniques to create highly specific, analytical capabilities. Liquid Chromatography coupled with ICP and Mass Spectrometry (LC-ICP-MS) measures even ultra low levels of toxic materials such as methylmercury in fish tissue. Speciation of mercury and arsenic in foods and the environment allow food safety experts to monitor the health of our seafood industry. Liquid Chromatography coupled with tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) allows us to measure low levels of organic contaminants such as melamine.


Animal Health

VetEHL supports animal health programs by performing critical tests for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), Brucellosis, and Johnes disease. We also facilitate testing for Chronic Wasting Discease (CWD).

EHL facilities also include a sophisticated necropsy laboratory that enables the State Veterinarian to perform detailed examinations to reveal disease mechanisms and cause of death. These capabilities help the State protect the health of our wild and domestic animal population.


Drinking Water

DW Safe drinking water is fundamental to public health. EHL offers EPA certified drinking water testing for microbiological parameters to State, Federal and local agencies. Typical parameters include Total Coliforms, Fecal Coliforms, E.coli, and Heterotrophic Plate Count. These services are provided as a courtesy to government agencies to assist in investigations or provide capacity in the event that private sector capacity is not available. All EHL drinking water methods comply with EPA’s rigorous guidelines for drinking water laboratories.

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