Two New Liquid Chromatography Technologies to Start the New Year

Innovative sample prep and UPLC surface technologies promising to increase efficiency and sensitivity for challenging workflows

We mentioned a new product from Restek at the tail end of 2021, the Revive In-Line Sample Preparation (ILSP) technology. A closer look at this technology sheds light on the efficiency, performance, and ingenuity of this alternative to upstream LC-MS sample cleanup.

The ILSP approach is an attractive alternative to cleanup methods such as the tried-and-true solid phase extraction (SPE) and QuEChERS. ILSP is designed to save time and money through depletion of background from samples directly inline with the LC-MS flow path. This contrasts with other approaches which often require manual sample prep using offline trapping columns, manifolds, and other devices.  Along with the time and cost efficiency of the Revive ILSP comes the performance for sensitive applications such as multi-residue pesticides analysis in foods and other complex matrices.

Key to the function of the Revive ILSP technology is the workflow, which involves “reviving” the cartridge after sample injections. Here is a synopsis of this interesting technique:

  • Concurrent analysis and regeneration are accomplished using a 6-port valve and a standard independent isocratic pump in-line and upstream to the LC analytical column.
  • Flow is initiated from the autosampler, delivering sample to the Revive ILSP cartridge where matrix components are removed from the analytes.
  • The clarified sample then flows to the analytical column at the front end of the LC-MS where analytes are separated and subsequently detected.
  • Once sample has passed through the ILSP system, the switching valve opens and the cartridge is backflushed with solvent driven by the isocratic pump.
  • As the LC run nears completion, the valve switches back to forward flow and the cartridge is pre-conditioned with buffer in anticipation of the next sample destined for cleanup.

It is the in-line sample treatment and subsequent regeneration that makes the Revive innovative from efficiency and throughput perspectives.  Sensitivity and resolution of downstream LC columns are maintained (Restek demonstrates over 300 sample runs with no loss of LC performance), further highlighting the longevity, the effectiveness, and the overall advantages of the Revive ILSP system. 

2021 also witnessed the release of breakout products such as the Waters Acquity Premier UPLC system. This platform is a modern update to the predecessor Acquity UPLC technology, which changed the landscape of the ultra-high performance liquid chromatography field upon its release 15 years ago.

The Acquity Premier platform includes many updated features and new innovations. Perhaps one of most significant is the MaxPeak HPS Premier Solutions technology.

  • MaxPeak HPS technology is designed to address multiple challenges that persist in LC, regardless of advancements in speed and resolution of UPLC.
  • It’s historically well-known throughout the LC world that metal-binding or metal-catalyzing analytes exhibit difficulties in conventional separations workflows.
  • Oligonucleotides, acidic peptides, cellular metabolites, and other analytes containing phosphate or carboxylate groups can react with the metal surfaces of LC columns and plumbing, resulting in analyte depletion and/or adduct formation.
  • The end result is loss of the native analyte(s) and decreases in sensitivity and resolution of low abundance species.

The Acquity Premier platform with MaxPeak HPS technology addresses these challenges on several fronts:

  • The MaxPeak HPS coating on compatible autosampler vials and consumables serves to minimize non-specific interactions and sample loss upstream of LC separations.
  • MaxPeak HPS coating throughout the UPLC columns, plumbing, and system works to reduce metal interactions, and enhance analysis times, peak shapes, and detection sensitivity.
  • Advantages include cost saving associated with sample and reagent loss, column conditioning, and passivation.

Passivation and conditioning to restore the performance of the system following a run can be particularly tedious and fraught with variability, further adding to the challenges mentioned. The Acquity Premier and MaxPeak HPS works to minimize variability and the significant time and resource expense involved associated with these challenges.

The MaxPeak HPS technology is available on Acquity Plus, Bioaccord, and Arc UPLC systems. Another surface technology, Peeksil, is combined with non-ferrous metals and titanium to address sample loss and/or interactions, available on the Acquity M-Class nanoflow system.

These are two of several new technologies that have surfaced recently, designed to address workflow inefficiencies and long-standing limitations in LC workflows.

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