A little spark in my brain took me back to school when my Maths teacher said, "Here is a pencil and a piece of paper - can you draw a circle with a dot in the middle without taking the pencil off the paper?" Being 12 years old, I was not going to let a puzzle defeat me. I spent a long time working it out. It was simple if you knew how but I did not, so I tried many ways! Sometimes we overthink things and may not always take the simplest of routes to get to the solution.
Let us take this a little further. Have you ever spent days, weeks, or maybe months developing a method to get your gradients just right to elute critical peaks? Once you have achieved it, have you transferred the method to another analyst, laboratory, or even another site, only to discover they cannot reproduce your brilliant new method? Sound familiar? Why not automate and cut out the discrepancies? Simple software control can do that.
In my life of Ion Chromatography, I have come across many applications where analysts have spent countless hours overthinking the method development for a simple analysis. I have a simple approach to unknown samples: start with a zero-eluent concentration and go the highest within one hour. The result usually gives me some information about my sample. I then tailor the gradient to gain better resolution. With manually prepared eluent, high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAE-PAD) for carbohydrate analysis, I painstakingly degassed my deionized water, to prepare the hydroxide, then repeat the same for another bottle with hydroxide and acetate, and finally a bottle for just deionized water. With three eluent channels, I always accounted for mixing delays with the gradient pump while developing a new method. I would then ensure the eluents are kept clean from atmospheric carbon dioxide & avoid the formation of carbonate by blanketing each bottle with inert gas. May I now remind you that this was only the start of the method development!
What if I said there is an easier way to do this? Do you want to know what it is?
All you have to do is “just-add-water” otherwise called reagent-free ion chromatography (RFIC) technology. We can use a water polisher like an IC Pure to keep the water clean in a tank and provide eluents for isocratic monosaccharide methods to gradients for oligosaccharides analysis. Simple!
Glycoprotein characterization and glycosylation profiling are very important tasks in the biopharmaceutical industry. This usually involves a complicated gradient setup with manually prepared hydroxide and acetate eluent. What if you can achieve similar chromatography and profiles with potassium hydroxide (KOH) and potassium methanesulfonate (KMSA), with no manual eluent preparation?