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SmartSPE – Control Your Results!

We’ve all been there in the lab watching our solid phase extraction (SPE) manifold and whilst you did your best to load them all at the same time they all drip through at different speeds or not at all on one or two dodgy cartridges or positions on the manifold.

SPE works in a similar way to liquid chromatography (LC) and you wouldn’t accept variable flow speeds in LC or expect them to produce good chromatography. With most vacuum manifolds this is what you get when doing SPE even with the best analysts and the best maintained manifolds.

Instrument Top Sample Preparation (ITSP) manufacturer of micro-SPE cartridges are the bedrock of SmartSPETM. By utilising these and the consistent positive pressure that a GERSTEL MPS preparation station can deliver, an ITSP cartridge ensures smooth positive flow through the cartridge bed. This smooth controlled flow gives more control of your loading and eluting meaning that these flows can be optimised and delivered consistently.

Everybody who does liquid chromatography knows that there is optimum flow rates for elution form Van Deemter curves whereby elution has an optimum and quickly drops off either side of this. If the flow cannot be controlled then each elution will hit a different point on these curves which leads to inconsistent recoveries.

SmartSPETM uses the optimal flow rates for sample loading and elution giving greater recoveries and concentration steps than average SPE methods. This applies of not only reversed phase extractions but also ion exchange or mixtures.

By using the microscale extraction allowed by ITSP cartridges you can save large volumes of solvent as elution can be in µL’s and not mL and require no concentration step post-extraction. Using automation as well means that analyst time is minimised and human error eliminated once the samples are in the vials.

Another upshot of the automation is that it can sit directly on top of a gas chromatograph (GC) or next to an LC taking up less room than the vacuum manifolds and pumps required for standard SPE.

Our Application Laboratory Manager, Dan Carrier, will be presenting his work and the ideas behind SmartSPETM at Burlington House as part of the ‘Emerging Separations Technologies’ meeting on the 30th March 2017.

If you cannot make this meeting but still want to learn about SmartSPETM then please either call the office on 01223 279210, or email:

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