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Anatune Applications Achievements in 2017

Martin Perkins

15th December 2017

DHS, Dispersive Liquid-Liquid Micro Extraction, DoE, Dynamic Headspace, GC/Q-TOF, Laboratory, R&D, Research & Development, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry, SIFT-MS,


We have great things coming your way in 2018, that have come out of the work done in 2017.

So as the year draws to a close, it is good to reflect on our labs achievements in the past year and give you a flavour of the great things you can look forward to in the New Year.

Throughout 2017, there have been two prominent Research and Development (R&D) themes to our work…

  1. Firstly, we have come to realise how powerful and important the automation of sample preparation is, in the context of method development.
  2. Secondly, we have been engaged in some exciting R&D projects, the fruits of which will deliver great benefits to our customers in the years ahead.

Design of Experiments (DoE)

Camilla Liscio has been busy learning to apply new Experimental Design tools to some of her application projects.  We do a great deal of method development in our lab and our aim has been to improve the productivity of our lab, so that we can do more work using the same number of people, the same instruments and the same amount of bench space.

Camilla had great success with this and has shown that it is possible to more than halve the time taken to develop a method, compared with a conventional ‘change one thing at a time’ approach.  Camilla has also shown that the GERSTEL MPS and DoE, in her words are ‘a match made in heaven’. Our thanks go to Tom Howard of the University of Newcastle for the guidance he has given Camilla in her work.

In 2018, we look forward to sharing with you what we have learned and help make it a productive year for you!

If you want to know more, please email me.

One of Camilla’s projects have been a collaboration with a team at the University of Manchester researching Parkinsons’ disease. We have some unique capabilities in our lab that have been put to good use on this project. In this case, a GERSTEL MPS configured for Dynamic Headspace Analysis coupled with a GC/Q-TOF equipped with an odour port. Please follow this link to learn more about the project.  We are all very proud of our own small contribution to something that will in time make a difference to peoples quality of life!

Earlier this year, Jonathan Dunscombe joined us from Severn Trent Water.  Jon is an experienced method development chemist and has long been a customer of Anatune.  We are doing a great deal of work on applications for the Water Industry and Jon has made a valuable contribution. Currently, he is developing a fully automated system for the analysis of glyphosate in water, to enable water labs to gear-up for a substantial increase in samples.  If you want to know more, drop us an email.

In September, Jamie Minaeian joined us from the University of York, via a six-month stint working for Syft Technologies in New Zealand.  Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) is en-route to becoming a mainstream analytical technology and Jamie joined Mark Perkins to double the manpower we have dedicated to SIFT-MS.

Anatune has a long-standing collaborative relationship with GlaxoSmithKline.  In 2017, we have been working together with the Extractable and Leachables team at GSK Stevenage to develop an automated solution for Dispersive Liquid Liquid Micro Extraction (DLLME). DLLME is a way of performing Liquid-Liquid extraction that is well suited to full automation using the GERSTEL MPS. It is fast, offers a high degree of enrichment and consumes only a tiny amount of solvent. You can find the application note on this work here.

Liquid-Liquid extraction is used everywhere and DLLME has a similarly wide applicability. More recently we have been working with John Quick at ALS Environmental to use it for the automated extraction of a wide range of semi-volatile analytes. John has produced excellent results with this technique.  You can find the application note on this work here. We are keen to find more applications for DLLME, so if you think DLLME may have something to offer you, please email me.

2017 has been a busy year for GC/Q-TOF sales and every instrument goes with a well equipped GERSTEL MPS, ready to deal with whatever samples may be thrown at it. These are complex systems, used for tough applications and Kathy Ridgway has done a sterling job in providing great pre and post sales support.

The Agilent GC/Q-TOF is a great instrument that has become the UK’s biggest selling accurate mass GC-MS a success that our lab team have had a big hand in.

In early 2018, we take delivery of Agilent’s powerful new 7250 GC/Q-TOF and we look forward to showing it to you.

At the end of 2016, we were included in the top 15 companies for innovation by The Analytical Scientist magazine. In the lab, Mark Perkins has taken the lead with SIFT-MS and has been doing much important science on the coupling of various automated sampling techniques with SIFT-MS. Sample introduction is a very different business compared to sample introduction into GC; there is much that Mark has had to work out from first principles – truly ground breaking stuff.

This year Marks focus has been on using SIFT-MS for the analysis of volatile compounds (of all polarities) in polymers. Just about every industry has its own analytical challenges in this area. One example is Vehicle Interior Air Quality (VIAQ) where the regulations are changing and will soon create a need for real-time measurements that only SIFT-MS can do.

These R&D projects have been very rewarding, but they have to be fitted around our day-job which is to provide applications support and training to the Anatune sales team and our customers. We get an unbelievable amount of work done!

Anatune is uniquely blessed with a smart, hard-working and productive team of applications chemists, ably assisted by an even larger team of robots, who save us a great deal of tedious routine work and leave us with the time and energy to do the clever stuff!

Seasons Greetings from us all, we look forward to working with you in 2018!