Leading Edge 2020 Issue 1

10 LEADING EDGE - 2020-1 To better support our customers’ supply chain and with improved efficiency and sustainability in mind, Alpha Laboratories has made significant investment in its warehousing infrastructure over the past 18 months. Growth, and provision for BREXIT, has required increased storage and we have expanded our warehousing with the reclamation and renovation of an adjoining warehouse unit. We have also invested in our current facilities, upgrading and refurbishing the existing warehouses. All units have benefited from additional storage racking and shelving, new floors and monitoring equipment, and our capacity for cold storage has more than doubled. These improvements mean that we can hold more stock on-hand, helping us to meet our goal of next day delivery for in-stock items. Alongside this we have also developed an additional, temperature monitored, narrow aisle warehouse with additional cold storage facilities. This new warehouse facility is dedicated to fulfilling supply for our customers within the national Bowel Screening Programmes. It provides both ambient and 2-8°C facilities for storage of the reagents and sample devices for the new faecal immunochemical test (FIT) screening method. The narrow aisle design allows for the most efficient use of the space. The unit is temperature monitored 24/7 with an external monitoring company. A major initiative, requiring funding of more than £150K, has seen the replacement of the standard roofing with an advanced Trisomet® trapezoidal roofing system. This provides greatly improved thermal insulation according to DIN EN 14509 to reduce heat loss. The roof installation also comprises 15% insulated skylights across the warehouse areas, which means using the natural daylight is sufficient for much of the year. The investment and expansion of our infrastructure has been supported by the growth of the warehouse team and will enable us to continue to provide a quality service to our customers, ensuring that their orders are prepared and delivered to a high standard. Investing to Better Support Your Supply Chain Improving Workflow for Trace Metals - Zinc Zinc deficiency is not always easy to diagnose, it affects many organ systems and there is not a single distinct symptom. Symptoms may include delayed wound healing, impaired taste, loss of appetite, hair loss, fertility issues, skin roughening and increased susceptibility to infection. Zinc is an essential trace element and the second, (iron being the first), most abundant transition metal found in living organisms. It has essential roles in metabolic pathways concerning protein, lipid carbohydrate and energy metabolism. Zinc is also involved in cell division, vital for growth and tissue repair. High concentrations are found in the placenta and umbilical cord during pregnancy where it promotes foetal development. Deficiencies in childhood can result in growth retardation and deficits in cognitive and motor development. Zinc is also important for reproductive health, it is needed to maintain normal levels of testosterone and deficiency can lead to delayed sexual maturation, infertility and impotence. The prostate gland requires high concentrations of zinc for correct functionality and the zinc concentration found in seminal fluid can be indicative of sperm quality. The immune system is also dependent upon zinc for normal development and function. Zinc ions are involved in regulating intracellular signalling pathways in innate and adaptive immune cells. Zinc deficiency negatively impacts various neutrophil functions including phagocytosis, oxidative burst, degranulation, cytokine production, and chemotaxis. Maturation and function of T and B cells are also affected and a disturbed ratio of Th1 and Th2 cells may be observed that favours Th2-driven allergic reactions. Zinc deficiency may be associated with other health issues such gastrointestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s, chronic liver or kidney disease, diabetes and sickle cell disease. It can also be the result of diet or lifestyle. It is one of the more common deficiencies seen in poorly planned vegetarian and vegan diets; high cereal protein intake which is rich in phytate may reduce zinc bioavailability. Deficiency is also seen in cases of alcohol dependency where zinc absorption is decreased whilst urinary zinc excretion is increased. It is also common observed in the elderly population and significant parallels between the changes described in immunosenescence and those associated with zinc deficiency such as reduced thymus activity and hormone production, decreased response to vaccines and reduced phagocytic and NK Cell function. The Sentinel zinc assay is suitable for use with serum, plasma and seminal fluid enabling analysis for numerous diagnostic investigations. Whilst some traditional assays for zinc require a deproteinisation step, the Sentinel assay offers improved workflow as there is no need for such pre-treatment. This dual reagent system has a measuring range of 5-2000µg/dL and on-board stability of 30 days. To find out more about the Sentinel zinc assay please visit www.alphalabs.co.uk/17640H