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6 Ways to Cut Solvent Usage in Your Lab

Martin Perkins

6th March 2013


There are plenty of good reasons for working to reduce your labs solvent consumption. Solvents are expensive to buy (and dispose of), plus they are potentially harmful to humans and the wider environment.

Here are 6 ideas for you to consider:

  1. Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE) with the GERSTEL Twister, uses a polymeric material as the extracting medium for aqueous samples. The stir bars are reusable and SBSE is simple and can be up to 1,000 x more sensitive than liquid-liquid extraction.
  2. Micro-Scale SPE ITSP stands for Instrument Top Sample Preparation and is a form of miniaturised Solid Phase Extraction. The mechanisms are the same as traditional SPE and employs much smaller volumes of both samples and solvents. ITSP is quicker than normal SPE and offers concentration factors that are at least as good – if not better.
  3. Large volume injection with the GERSTEL CIS 4 enables you to maintain the amount of analyte injected, while scaling down both your sample volume and the volume of extracting solvent.
  4. Automate Yes you have to re-develop your method, but the payback comes in the form of much less work, better accuracy and precision. Your staff’s exposure to toxic solvents is greatly reduced. If your method was originally designed with an old model of GC-MS, you may well find that the increased sensitivity of modern instruments, lets you scale the sample prep down or dispense with concentration steps altogether.
  5. Use SPME A wide range of VOCs and SVOCs can be extracted from samples without the use of solvent. Different fibre phases allow for selectivity differences to be exploited. Its easy to use, and can be automated to make it even easier. Use the GERSTEL Multi Fibre Exchange system to periodically change fibres for different phases, or before they deteriorate to increase throughput in your laboratory.
  6. Thermally Extraction using the GERSTEL Automated Tube Extraction (ATEX). Don’t use solvent here – place your solid or liquid sample directly into a Thermal Desorption Tube and thermally extract the sample in the Thermal Desorption Unit. This leaves your involatile matrix behind after desorption and keeps your GC clean and residue free.

We have experience in putting all of these techniques to work. If reducing solvent consumption is a priority, give us a call.  We are happy to help.