It can take more than 1000 years to form a centimeter of topsoil.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

Annual meeting of the AOAC International PNW, Tacoma, USA

About 100 people participated in the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Pacific Northwest Section’s Annual Meeting at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington on June 26-27, 2003. The meeting format was conducive to the free exchange of ideas. We kept the same format of previous meetings with workshops held on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, and training sessions on Friday afternoon. These workshops and training sessions gave local analysts an opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise.

The theme of the meeting was Producing reliable data in the laboratory. Tantamount to obtaining reliable data is selecting an appropriate and reliable method. AOAC has been involved in producing an electronic compilation of analytical methods called e-CAM. This compilation will give laboratories the ability to search online for methods by category, analyte, matrix, instrumentation, and other parameters. In addition to allowing instant access to thousands of regulatory and other methods, it will be a storehouse and in-house review and validation system for method submissions. It will also be an interactive forum for method discussions where users may participate in discussion groups to post technical questions, notify users of new methods, organize collaborative studies, seek feedback of potential or obsolete methods, and resolve issues surrounding method use. Users will also find information on e-CAM on lab support services, including instruments, reagents, reference materials, analytical standards, contract services, and proficiency testing. Anita Mishra gave an excellent presentation on e-CAM at the plenary session and presented demonstrations.

Several papers were presented in the eight workshops following the plenary session (the names of the workshop organizers are given in parentheses): Inorganic Chemistry (Abbey Corbet and Sue Coffey), Laboratory Support Issues (Charles Lytle and Norma Corristan), Metals Chemistry (Katie Adams), Microbiology (Carlos Abeyta and Mike Grant), Pesticide Residue (Virginia Palomo and Steve Reimer), Pharmaceutical (Robert Tollefson), Seafood and Microanalytical (Jim Barnett) and Soil and Environmental Chemistry (Yash Kalra). There were three training sessions (the names of the presenters are given in parentheses): Introduction to OpenOffice (Ed Paski), Determination of Pathogens by Real-Time PCR Using SmartCycler (Jinxin Hu), and Everything You Wanted to Know About PCB Analysis (Bob Rieck). The Scientific Expo was a highlight involving productive interchange between vendors and delegates. Stephanie Clark, the banquet speaker, shared the story of Cougar Gold (Washington State University’s signature cheese) and discussed the economics, science, and art of turning “abundant” grass into “precious” gold (Cougar Gold, that is!).

The Planning Committee consisted of Carlos Abeyta, Katie Adams, Enrico Buenaventura, Sue Coffey, Cheryl Ekland, Mike Grant, Jerry Hirsch, Yash Kalra, Peggy Knight, Virginia Palomo, Ed Paski, Josephine Pompey, Steve Pope, Steve Reimer, and Jim Silkey. The 2002-2003 executive consisted of President Sue Coffey, Past President Yash Kalra, President-Elect Carlos Abeyta, Secretary Josephine Pompey, and Treasurers Mike Grant and Fred Krick. Further information on the association is available from: AOAC INTERNATIONAL, 481 North Frederick Avenue, Suite 500, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877-2417, USA, telephone (301) 924-7077 or (800) 379-2622 (toll-free from North America); fax (301) 924-7089; Internet: – Special thanks to Brenda Wilson of Bon Accord Media for the construction of our website