Solid-Phase ExtractionThe title of this blog post seems like a pretty ambitious claim to make about automated solid-phase extraction (SPE) on the face of it, doesn’t it? But, here I am pleased to share a paper, White Paper 70622, Why Automated Solid-Phase Extraction Is Superior to Traditional Extraction, (downloadable PDF), written by a scientist in our Sunnyvale office in California, laying out the arguments in support of the title of the white paper.

The SPE technique is widely used in environmental labs and, indeed, many regulatory bodies including the U.S. EPA have approved the use of automated SPE in sample preparation for water analysis, as in U.S. EPA Method 525.3: Determination of Semivolatile Organic Chemicals in Drinking Water by Solid Phase Extraction and Capillary Column Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) (downloadable PDF).

Typically, manual SPE consists of four steps: conditioning the stationary phase, loading samples onto the SPE cartridge, rinsing unwanted materials, and eluting the compounds of interest into collection vials. But, using our automated SPE solution (Thermo Scientific Dionex AutoTrace 280 SPE instrument), chemists and technicians can automate conditioning, loading, rinsing, and elution of the sample resulting in the following benefits a) extract samples without constant attention, b) significantly reduce sample handling, c) reduce solvent and labor cost by up to 90%.

The white paper provides details and examples for how precision and accuracy of sample preparation are improved as compared to other techniques, comparison of extract cost per sample for four techniques, and lab safety advantages.

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Besides, environmental applications, automated SPE can also be used for sample preparation of pharmaceutical and natural products as in the testing of active ingredients in liquids, extractables in packaged water, and extractables in drug delivery devices and packaging. For food and beverage applications, automated SPE can be used for the analysis of vitamins and antibiotics, contaminants in bottled drinks, natural products, pesticides and herbicides in liquids, pesticide residues, and herbal and dietary supplements.

This blog features numerous posts on automated solid-phase extraction applications that provide good reading if you are new to this technique.

Do you have questions not answered by this white paper? Do let us know using the comments box below: we look forward to hearing from you!