I’ve written on sample preparation before on this blog; it’s a bit of a passion of mine because it can be so beneficial to use, but many people find the concept intimidating. My previous blog post reviewed three techniques for sample preparation (link to previous blog). There are many great links in the previous article that are not listed here. This post is intended to invite you to try solid-phase extraction (SPE) by providing extremely easy and complete tools that will make your sample preparation quick, efficient, and successful.
There are a variety of very good reasons to do sample preparation. You might have a very difficult sample matrix (link to downloadable food testing application), which, if not cleaned up, will contaminate or clog your expensive chromatography or mass spectrometry system. You might have a very dilute sample and need to concentrate the sample (link to downloadable pdf) it prior to analysis. You might need to reduce background signal (link to downloadable pdf) from the matrix to get accurate quantitative results. Whatever the reason, there is a solid-phase extraction solution to help you and I hope you will find this post a quick guide to an appropriate solution.
Sample Preparation Protocol Tools
If you are a chromatographer, you could probably benefit from a sample preparation protocol (web site library tool). For a generic sample preparation protocol, use this Solid Phase Extraction – Product and Method Selection Tool (web site tool). By answering four easy questions about your compound of interest, you will get to an appropriate SPE product. You’ll need to know your sample matrix, the solubility of your sample, the polarity of your sample and your separation mode. That’s it.
You can also order a complimentary SPE Application Notebook and a poster (link to web page; you will need to fill out a short form before downloading) focused on SPE applications for pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical, environmental, food safety, and forensic testing.
And, finally, you might also be interested in four complimentary sample preparation troubleshooting posters (link to webpage, must register) on sample preparation troubleshooting, sample handling, gas chromatography consumables, and HPLC columns.
Solid-Phase Extraction Phase Selection Tool
Use the graphic below to quickly find an appropriate SPE product for your compound. Starting from the left, you first select the matrix type, then the solubility and polarity of the sample, then the separation mode, and find the sorbents. Click the image below to display in high-resolution format.
Now that you are aware of all the resources available, and you understand the benefits you can achieve with a SPE technique, I hope you’ll give it a try. I think you’ll be amazed at the results you get. Whether you are looking for system cleanliness and up-time, cleaner and more reproducible results, increased signal to noise, or easier quantitation, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t added SPE to your workflow earlier.
I would like to hear from you regarding your thoughts and experiences with SPE especially if you are trying it for the first time.