In a previous blog post, I commented on the opportunity to use modern robotic technology to make our life easier by automating low-value routine activities. Doesn’t matter if it is for housekeeping duties or for scientific purposes in an analytical laboratory … the goal is to save time to dedicate to more high-value work.
But is that all here? In fact, the benefits expected from a higher level of automation in testing laboratories are more than that, especially when we consider sample preparation procedures. Manual sample preparation protocols are not only labor-intensive and time-consuming but also quite expensive, prone to human errors and may expose the operators to hazardous chemicals.
When we consider gas chromatography (GC) analysis, sample preparation is crucial and represents the most critical bottleneck for higher sample throughput. The way the sample is made amenable for GC analysis includes many different manipulations having the final purpose to improve the chromatographic process and detection. This is achieved by eliminating potential interferences through an efficient extraction and clean-up and/or by making the analytes more volatile and less polar.
Then, quantitative chromatographic determinations involve the preparation of standards at different concentration levels for external or internal calibrations, adding to the manual workflow a series of sample handling operations like additions, dilutions, dissolutions, aliquoting, which, if automated, assure higher precision and accuracy of the results. Such simple routine operations can be easily programmed on your Thermo Scientific™ TriPlus™ RSH by means of the Sampling Workflow Editor software, a very intuitive graphical programming platform to instruct your robot to execute many sample handling operations.
For most complex sample preparation procedures Thermo Fisher Scientific is offering, with the valuable collaboration of SampleQ (part of Interscience), ad hoc validated workflow solutions, based on the TriPlus RSH robotic autosampler.
Some of our customers working in the Environmental and Food Safety analytical field are already experiencing the benefits of being moved from a manual to a semi-automated or fully automated approach, with significant improvements in terms of productivity, data quality and costs reduction.
This is the case of Veritas SpA, a large service provider in Northern Italy, whose laboratory provides analytical support mainly in the environmental chemical and biological sector, with focus to wastewater, surface and deep water intended for human consumption. One of their main goals is to assiduously control and guarantee the maximum quality of the water supplied and distributed to more than 790,000 users in the territory.
The growing demand for monitoring pollutants in water intended for human consumption has prompted Veritas laboratory to adopt high-performance analytical instrumentation allowing to simplify workflow procedures while assuring appropriate sensitivity levels.
Since October last year, they are successfully using the TriPlus RSH autosampler combined with the highly sensitive Thermo Scientific™ TSQ™ 9000 triple quadrupole GC-MS/MS equipped with the Advanced Electron Ionization (AEI) source, for automated in-vial liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) of PAH, pesticides and other semi-volatiles contaminants in drinking and wastewater samples.
Learn more from the direct testimonial of P.I. Gilberto Pintonello, Supervisor of Chromatography Department in Veritas, by listening to his webinar available on-demand, as part of a webinar series on automated sample prep.
Additional sample preparation workflows for food analysis have been validated, like the transesterification and derivatization of Monochloropropanediol (MCPDe) and glycidyl esters (GE) in processed edible oil based on the AOCSCd29c-13 method, or the saponification and methylation of fatty acids according to AOCS Ce 2-66 and AOAC 996.06 methods, or the automated µSPE clean-up of QuEChERs food extract for pesticide analysis.