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Organic Chemical Metrology Group

The Organic Chemical Metrology Group is responsible for developing, critically evaluating, and applying liquid chromatographic, gas chromatographic, spectroscopic and mass spectrometric techniques for the confident identification and measurement of organic species in a variety of matrices.

About the OCMG

The group designs, produces and maintains an extensive portfolio of Standard Reference Materials and data products, primary standards, and Quality Assurance programs for organic species in clinical, nutritional assessment and metabolomics, food safety and nutrition, dietary supplement and natural products, chemical manufacturing, and forensics program areas. The group provides advice and measurement services to other government agencies, scientific organizations, and US industry; and engages with international standards organizations and other National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) to establish comparability of measurement capabilities.

Primary focus areas

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Food Nutrition and Food SafetyWell-characterized food-matrix reference materials are needed by testing laboratories in the food industry to facilitate compliance with labeling and safety regulations, which in turn allows consumers to make informed food choices. Consumer confidence and safety depend on sophisticated analysis and underlying metrology to accurately determine nutritional content and detect both intentional and unintentional adulteration and to confirm the identity of food products. Efforts are ongoing to develop and maintain measurement services, including reference materials, reference data, interlaboratory comparisons, and more to support compliance with food labeling and food safety regulations.

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Clinical and Health Assessment: The accuracy of clinical diagnostic measurements is essential for research, reliable diagnosis, and cost-effective treatment of disease. NIST provides reference methods, reference materials, and quality assurance programs to support the accuracy and traceability of health-related measurements. NIST works closely with in vitro diagnostics manufacturers, as well as end-users in national health, research, and routine clinical diagnostic laboratories to identify priority measurement needs.

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Natural Products: Natural products are a class of substances found in nature, and are often used/advertised to maintain or improve health and valued for medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavor, and/or scent. They consist of herbal/botanical products, dietary supplements, and phytomedicines.

Fundamental Chemical Metrology: Metrology is a formalized process to understand, compare and standardize scientific measurement of physical properties.  Measured chemical quantities are typically relative amounts of substance (number of chemical entities, e.g., molecules, within a mass or volume) or mass fractions of substances in pure chemicals, mixtures and composites, and materials of natural origin.

Forensic Science: NIST provides tools to help forensic crime laboratories validate their analytical methods and ensure accuracy in their results for DNA and biological evidence, fingerprint and pattern evidence, illicit drugs, digital evidence, ballistics, and trace evidence.

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Material Evaluations: Materials used in industry (to include starting materials and finished products) need to be evaluated to determine that the materials are suitable for their intended purpose that is safe for consumers and the environment. NIST currently develops Standard Reference Materials to support measurements for material evaluations.

Chemical Metrology for BioSciences: The Chemical Sciences Division (CSD) works in partnership with the Biological Science Divisions to develop robust NMR and MS-based analytical protocols, artifact standards (biological fluids, materials, tissues, or synthetic), and reference data for quality assurance in omics-based measurements for clinical diagnostics and health and nutritional assessment, in addition to the evaluation of clinical chemistry assays for a range of biomarker compounds.



NIST Chemist Katrice Lippa on NIST SRMs


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Linking the World Through Chemical Measurements


Reference Materials Lab Certification

Reference Materials and Lab Certifications Resolve Industry-wide Challenges


M. Phillips, Food Safety Education Month

Food Safety Education Month


Group Strat Award

Christina Jones, Benjamin Place and Aaron Urbas, together with CSD colleagues Regina Easley, Jason Waters, Laura Wood, Lee Yu, David Sheen and Werickson Rocha, received the 2019 MML Strategic Partnership Award for the establishment of a multidisciplinary team to conduct metrology research at NIST as part of the European Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Quality in Analytical Laboratories (EMQAL) program.

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Michael Nelson and Katrice Lippa, together with NIST colleagues Brian Lang, Jason Waters and Blaza Toman, received the Cooperation on International Traceability in Analytical Chemistry (CITAC) Best Paper Award for 2018 for their work on “A New Realization of SI for Organic Chemical Measurement: NIST PS1 Primary Standard for Quantitative NMR (Benzoic Acid)”.


Analytical Science Leaders Honored at AOAC INTERNATIONAL Annual Meeting

News and Updates

Turmeric: Spice or Herbal Medicine?

What: SRM 3299 is a ground turmeric rhizome powder value assigned for curcuminoids and toxic elements. The SRM consists of five packets of the material each

Projects and Programs

Multidimensional Chromatography

Both comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) and comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography (LCxLC) have emerged as powerful tools



Simulated Chromatographic Data

The following information is provided as an aid in the validation of mathematical models used in quantitation with chromatographic data. This data may also be


Group Leader

Office Manager