The Bio-Analysis Centre offers High Performance (label free) Capillary Electrophoresis (HPCE) system from deltaDOT to its clients.
Whilst electrophoresis is the process during which ions undergo movement in a fluid or gel under the influence of an electric field, capillary electrophoresis is a technique that separates these ions based on their electrophoretic mobility with the use of an applied voltage. This mobility is dependent on the atom’s radius, the charge of the molecule, and the molecule’s viscosity. The rate at which the charged particle moves is directly proportional to the applied electric field – as the field strength increases the mobility increases also.
Chromatographic analysis is often an indispensable technique for a life scientist.
The gadgetry and the skills required, for the successful application of such techniques, are less so common. Having spent the summer months of 2017, working for the Bio Analysis Centre, I have been a very keen observer of the company’s modus operandi. I have been most impressed by the assembly of systems, developed and maintained by the laboratory manager, Dr. Hyde. This framework for the BAC ensures the smooth running of the services it provides.
As the global population continues to grow exponentially the demand for food becomes ever more pressing. In order to supply this mounting demand, the world’s crop production must increase through optimised methods, fertilisers, agrochemicals and pesticides. Nonetheless, with strict regulations regarding contaminants including pesticides, mycotoxins and heavy metals the manufacturing of food and drinks must be monitored vigilantly. Analytical instrumentation technologies and methods on a mass spectrometer alongside gas chromatography allow this food safety promise to be guaranteed.
Analytical scientists utilise a range of sample preparation tools to aid their method development, how they approach this challenge can significantly impact their success.
Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) is a type of sample preparation technology that uses solid particle and chromatographic packing material to chemically separate the different components of a sample.
Samples are usually in a liquid state and are run through stationary phase particles in a cartridge. The chromatographic bed can be used to selectively remove interferences to ensure subsequent analytical testing is more successful.
Liquid-Solid Phase Extraction carries the same basic principles of liquid chromatography used in HPLC, but for different reasons. In SPE, chromatography is used to prepare a sample prior to analytical testing.
Samples used in SPE can originate from a wide range of sources. They can be biological fluids (eg. Plasma, saliva, urine), food products (eg. Grain and meat), environmental samples (eg. Water, air, soil), pharmaceuticals, beverages or industrial products.
There are numerous benefits to using SPE:
- The procedure can simplify a complex sample matrix and aid in purifying the compound. If there are a large number of interfering constituents or substances in the sample matrix, it makes analysis extremely difficult.
- SPE can reduce ion suppression or enhancement in MS applications. With an appropriate method this effect will be minimised by cleaning the interferences from the compound, resulting in a more accurate reported value.
- It has the ability to fractionate a sample matrix to allow analysis of compounds by class. If a sample contains many compounds, separating them by class can be useful so that further analysis can be carried out much more efficiently.
- SPE allows better analysis of trace concentration of very low level compounds. The chromatographic packing material has retention capabilities which allow the ability to trace concentrate. This would be very difficult with other sample preparation techniques.