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Automated v Manual Sample Preparation – A Comparison

Martin Perkins

28th March 2018

Automated, LC-MS, Manual, MPS, MultiPurpose Sampler, Oil, Phine Banks, Polymer Matrix, Sample Preparation,


We talk a lot about how automated sample preparation gives you better data – but, you would be correct to point out we are ever so slightly biased!

A customer (who has asked not to be named), using a GERSTEL MPS, has carried out some work to prove this statement is true in the real world.

The customer very kindly offered some anonymised results for publication on this blog, the results of a comparison his organisation had carried out for internal use.

In this case, the sample prep was complex. The analytes to be measured were present in a polymer matrix, suspended in oil and so the method involved the separation of the polymer from the oil, dissolving the polymer in solvent, precipitating the polymer and clarifying the solvent, all prior to injection into an LC-MS.

The operator performing the study, was skilled, experienced and was giving the work their full attention; so this was a rigorous test.

Once the GERSTEL MPS robot had been fully optimised, a comparison was made between LC-MS data obtained with manual sample prep, and data from the LC-MS when coupled with the GERSTEL MPS, with the sample prep fully automated.

The charts below compare the accuracy and precision for two measurements on a nominal concentration with n=6.  In each case the 95% Confidence Intervals are shown by the blue bars:

Both set of results are in good agreement, with the automated method showing much less variability.

Many thanks to our mystery customer for sharing these results; automated sample preparation wins by a country mile!

If you have a complex sample prep method that you would like to automate, then we will do our best to help.  Call us on +44 (0)1223 279210 or email us now.