We have been amidst a technology revolution -- innovation and miniaturization lending to smaller, more efficient devices with greater capabilities than ever before -- microprocessor, microfluidic, and nanotechnology devices forging new territory of discovery and advanced applications.
In the laboratory, this trend has included more compact, size conscious equipment, without sacrifices to instrument analytical power and throughput. High-throughput and parallel processing techniques have equated to an increased number of instruments for a given screening or testing assay application. Increased overhead costs have resulted in reduced lab space for testing operations. Ease-of-use demands have given rise to simpler instrument operation and maintenance requirements.
The effects of this revolution on the field of mass spectrometry is readily apparent, with instruments shedding larger complex components for smaller more efficient refinements. Advantages of this efficiency revolution are evident in the broad range of instruments with expanded applications in field-based and remote operation.
We explore a number of these new technologies and focus on new instrument platforms for environmental and food safety testing. New instruments and techniques beyond the traditional lab can also be found in subsequent articles.
Emerging Trends in Compact Mass Spectrometry
The Compact Mass Spec Field Continues to Expand
Compact Mass Spectrometers Offer Versatility for a Variety of Food Testing Applications
Mass Spectrometry Technology and Product Development Snapshots
Mass Spectrometry and Environmental Testing
Monitoring and detecting pesticides, pharmaceuticals, hormone, antibiotics, and other organic contaminants is obviously very important for public health and the state of the environment worldwide. Private and academic testing labs are partnering with leading analytical instrument manufacturers to develop advanced methods and tests. A sizeable effort is underway to evaluate the effectiveness of novel technologies for removing compounds and preventing contamination of municipal drinking water among other repositories.
Waters has invested in environmental and food testing and has focused in part to the changing regulations, lower levels of quantitation, and ever-growing list of analytes involved. The release of the Xevo mass spectrometry systems has enabled analytical and compliance requirements, while allowing creation of accessible and reliable methodologies for testing.
Well known for superior LC technologies, the Xevo LC-MS platform combines accurate and precise separations with high end MS performance. The Xevo QTOF MS utilizes the ACQUITY UPLC system for fast and accurate separations coupled with high-performance exact mass QTOF MS/MS technology – complete in a benchtop package.
The efficient and power instrument platform is coupled with easy to use software for data deconvolution and analysis. Informatics solutions, and specially designed chemistry columns and consumables, permit quantitative analysis of a wide range of analytes and contaminants.
Beyond known compounds, ‘contaminants of emerging concern’ are those in which health effects are unknown, concentrations and frequencies are unclear, and analytical methods remain under developed. ThermoFisher has a wide variety of instruments and environmental testing solutions focused on both known and emerging testing techniques.
Unveiled at Pittcon 2018, the Thermo Scientific ISQ 7000 single quadrupole GC-MS system combines robustness and sensitivity with high-throughput productivity for environmental applications. Users can opt for the ExactBrite ion source or Advanced Electron Ionization (AEI) source, depending on the analytical needs and throughput requirements. Enhanced sensitivity arises from increased ionization efficiency, allowing detection and screening of very low concentration analytes in complex backgrounds. The efficient ISQ 7000 is a complement to the TSQ 9000 triple quad GC-MS/MS, which is well-suited for advanced MS/MS applications and method development.
Mass Spectrometry - Food and Beverage Safety – Forensics Testing
Agilent offers an impressive suite of food safety and forensics testing solutions. Food processing and packaging, pesticides analysis, dietary supplements and health food testing and more, are all focal points of these instruments and products.
Screening for veterinary drugs (VD) in foods of animal origins is an important yet incredibly challenging application. The complexity of the matrices and the large range of compound analogs demands intricate approaches for testing. Federal regulations and testing requirements fuel additional performance demands.
The recently released Ultivo triple quadrupole LC-MS is a breakthrough in efficiency and is well-suited for VD testing among many other applications. The small footprint supports space conscious labs, with performance matched to previous triple quads o larger lineage. Coupled with an Agilent 1290 Infinity II LC front-end, the screening capabilities of the platform include multi-class analysis of over 150 compounds in a single run. Additional platforms including the Agilent 6495 triple quad LC-MS and the UHPLC-QTOF extend the reach of analytical solutions for a wide array of VD applications.