These words appeared on a poster that I came across when attending the 128thAssociation of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) International Annual Meeting and Exposition last year. Rarely do a few words and a simple picture of a mass spectrometry analyzer (Thermo Scientific Orbitrap system) create such intrigue and attention in analytical chemistry. That evening, in the bar, the hot topic of discussion was the long-awaited introduction of Orbitrap technology coupled to gas chromatography and the prospect of a new dawn in Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). What will be the mass resolving power and mass accuracy? Which ionization modes will be available? Speculation on the sensitivity, linearity, cost and the potential applications (pesticides, food contaminants, profiling) continued late into the night. There was an air of excitement and anticipation, but despite searching the Planet Orbitrap webpage, and prodding Paul Silcock, our GC-MS Marketing Manager, no details were forthcoming and the lack of information just heightened the intrigue.
In the last few months, a number of experts in the application of the High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) analytical technique in the food safety sector have had access to the instrument, including Dr. Hans Mol, a highly respected analytical chemist working at the RIKILT Research Institute, in the Netherlands. Dr. Mol has recently disclosed his first impressions of the GC-Orbitrap in an article published by The Analytical Scientist, titled, The Frontier of Gas Chromatography, (downloadable PDF), and in a short video interview (link to video). He states that “In terms of resolution, the GC-Orbitrap is clearly a major step forward, outperforming everything on the market” and that “the GC- Orbitrap gave equivalent sensitivity and selectivity to GC-MS/MS for the analytes tested, but has the added advantage of full scan capabilities.” He concludes that “the GC- Orbitrap is something very new and different indeed."
This new instrument will be launched very soon and the analytical community will learn the answers to all the questions asked that night in the bar. To be among the first to learn about this system, you can also sign up to receive emails at thermoscientific.com/HRAMGCMS.
Do remember to check out our online Food Community which is a wonderful resource that is totally dedicated to our Food and Beverage customers and features the latest on-demand webinars, videos, application notes, and more.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for possible applications for this new system, please let us know. I look forward to hearing from you.