ASTM International Approves New Committee, Packagers Encouraged to Participate

Packaging professionals have another reason to get involved in ASTM International. In June, the ASTM board of directors approved the formation of a new committee, E62 on Industrial Biotechnology, formed by professionals from the medical and pharmaceutical industries as well as from agriculture and others. E62 will be charged with developing test methods, practices, and terminology standards pertaining to several aspects of industrial biotechnology, including packaging. “Participation from the packaging engineering community is strongly encouraged at all levels—document development, committee leadership, etc.,” Pat A. Picariello, Director, Developmental Operations, ASTM International, tells PMP News.

What is biotechnology? According to the Biotechnology Industry Organization, industrial biotechnology is “technology based on biology. Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet,” ASTM International shared in a press release. Adds ASTM: “Rather than using fossil fuels and minerals, industrial biotechnology uses biomass from crops and waste products.”

Potential topics for the committee to pursue include determination of green content, life cycle analysis, feedstock biomass, and drop-in chemical specifications, ASTM reported.

Picariello explains that “the development of standardized nomenclature and definitions of terms, recommended practices, guides, test methods, specifications, and performance standards for industrial biotechnology from raw materials to end products. The activity will encourage research in this field and sponsor symposia, workshops, and publications to facilitate the development of such standards.”

ASTM Committee E62 “shall support and serve as a resource for other ASTM committees in their activities that include industrial biotechnology issues,” Picariello reports. “My expectation is that E62 will coordinate development activities with a host of existing ASTM committees, D10 and F02 included.”

He adds that "this activity is, essentially, a blank canvas at present. In this capacity, it’s capable of evolving in a variety of different directions depending on the needs expressed by the industry it serves."

Such support may include “dissemination of specific requests for standards throughout ASTM's existing committee base, as well as the maintenance of appropriate liaison relationships—internal and external—related to this subject area,” he says. “The activity will not duplicate the efforts of existing ASTM technical committees. The work of this activity will be coordinated with other ASTM committees and other organizations having mutual interest.”

Initially it was reported that E62 will coordinate its activities with several ASTM committees, including D02 on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels and Lubricants; E55 on Manufacture of Pharmaceutical Products; E56 on Nanotechnology; and F04 on Medical and Surgical Materials and Devices.

For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit

Picariello can be reached at 610/832-9720 and

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By Daphne Allen
Editor, Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News

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