In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

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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.

Soil and Environmental Chemistry Workshop, USA

The Annual Meeting of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Pacific Northwest Section was held at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, USA on June 23-24, 2005. The university is located in the charming residential neighborhood in historic North Tacoma. Its park-like campus, beautiful ivy-wrapped brick buildings, spacious lawns, and elegant fountains provide an ideal setting for such events. Total attendance at the meeting was 122. The theme of the meeting was What are our best defenses? Environmental and intentional contamination. The program included plenary presentations (from Canada, Spain, Turkey, and USA), workshops and training sessions. There were seven workshops: (1) Soil and Environmental Chemistry (Coordinator: Yash P. Kalra, Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, AB, Canada), (2) Microbiology (Coordinator: Don H. Bark, US Food and Drug Administration, Bothell, WA), (3) Quality Assurance Relating to the Chemistry Laboratory (Coordinators: Roy Araki, US EPA, Region 10, Seattle, WA and Cliff Kirchmer, Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA), (4) Seafood Chemistry and Marine and Freshwater Toxins Subgroups (Coordinator: James Hungerford, US Food and Drug Administration, Bothell, WA), (5) Enhancing ICP-MS Analysis through Training and Innovation (Coordinator: Marshall Pattee, North Creek Analytical, Beaverton, OR), (6) Pesticide Residues Chemistry (Coordinators: Virginia Palomo, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Portland, OR and Steve Reimer, US EPA, Port Orchard, WA), and (7) Trace Metals Speciation from Sampling to Analysis (Coordinators: Carl Hensman and Frank Colich, Frontier Geosciences, Seattle, WA).

The following papers were presented in the Soil and Environmental Chemistry Workshop: (1) Novel approaches to environmental HPLC analysis (Douglas Elliott, Restek Corporation, Bellefonte, PA), (2) Play it safe in the laboratory – A presentation on laboratory glassware safety (Dale Cushenbery, Kimble Glass, Federal Way, WA), (3) Ultra high throughput microwave assisted evaporations and concentrations (Michael Howe, CEM Corporation, Charlotte, NC), (4) A review of extraction methods for soil analysis (Yash P. Kalra and Basilio Brizuela-Amador Perez, Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, AB), (5) Metrology in chemical measurements (Yash P. Kalra, Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, AB), (6) Quality assurance and quality control in a good laboratory practice laboratory (Steve McGeehan, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID), and (7) pH maintenance (Beau Fessenden, Thermo Electron Corporation, Beverly, MA). The training sessions included (1) Calibration Verification Requirements for Clinical Laboratories (Lori Hudson, Washington State Department of Health, Spokane, WA), (2) The Emerging Dietary Supplement Industry – Implications for FDA, Academic, and Private Laboratories (James Neal-Kababick, Grants Pass, OR), (3) Control Charts in the Analytical Laboratory (Ed Paski, Analytical Innovations, North Vancouver, BC, Canada), (4) Overview of Microscopy (Mike G. McDowell, Washington State Department of Health Laboratory, Shoreline, WA), (5) Microbiology (Bryce Mansfield, Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle, WA, Purnendu Vasavada, Food Safety and Microbiology, University of Wisconsin, River Falls, WI, and Richard C. Stevens, Departments of Genome Sciences and Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA). Birgit Kriete (Orca Citizens’ Alliance, Friday Harbor, WA), banquet speaker, gave an interesting presentation entitled Killer whales – Are they eating us out of our ocean? – The real story. The following companies displayed their products at the Scientific Expo: Agilent, Barnstead & Kimble/ Kontes, Biotrace International, Buck Scientific, CEM, Cetac Technologies, Dionex, Extech Ltd., Hitachi Hitech, MLS Technologies, Perkin-Elmer, Restek, Sigma-Aldrich, Teledyne Tekmar, TRS Scientific Glass, Varian, Westco, and Whatman.

The meeting offered an excellent opportunity to the participants to update their knowledge and interact with scientists working in their areas of interest. The members of the Planning Committee were Don H. Bark, Enrico Buenaventura, Sue Coffey, Mike Grant, Nancy Hill, Jerry Hirsch, Jim Hungerford, Yash P. Kalra, Peggy Knight, Fred Krick, Virginia Palomo, Ed Paski, Josephine Pompey, Steve Pope, and Steve Reimer. The 2005 Executive of the Section consisted of Carlos Abeyta, Jr. (Chair), Jinxin Hu (Chair-Elect), Yash P. Kalra (Past Chair), Josephine Pompey (Secretary), and Mike Grant and Fred Krick (Treasurers).

The AOAC INTERNATIONAL is the Association of Official Analytical Communities. It is committed to being a proactive, worldwide provider and facilitator in the development, use and harmonization of validated analytical methods and laboratory quality assurance programs and services. It also serves as the primary resource for timely knowledge exchange, networking, and high-quality laboratory information for scientists. It was founded in 1884 as the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists. The name was changed to the Association of Official Analytical Chemists in 1965 and AOAC INTERNATIONAL in 1991. It has more than 3,700 members, one-third of them from outside the US. The AOAC INTERNATIONAL Sections program was initiated in 1981. The Sections are located around the world: Ten North American Sections (Central, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-Canada, Midwest, New York-New Jersey, Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, Southern, and Southern California) and six International Sections (China, Europe, Japan, Latin American and Caribbean, Low Lands, and Taiwan). The Pacific Northwest Section includes four states in USA (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) and two provinces in Canada (Alberta and British Columbia). It has the distinction of having been the first Section formed. Additional information is available from the AOAC INTERNATIONAL, 481 North Frederick Avenue, Suite 500, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-2417, USA; Telephone (301) 924-7077; Fax (301) 924-7089; Internet:

Yash P. Kalra
Canadian Forest Service
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada