Introducing the MPS MultiFlex for Food and Beverage Analysis

Martin Perkins

25th June 2013

MultiFlex sample introduction and automation on an Agilent 7200

MultiFlex sample introduction and automation on an Agilent 7200 GC/q-TOF

Over the last few years, GERSTEL’s sampling and automation technology has steadily grown to be the first-choice for chromatography sample preparation and introduction within the food and beverage R&D labs, Worldwide.

For foods and beverages, sample preparation and introduction is often the most demanding part of the analytical process and the wider your options in this area, the more certain you can be that you can come-up with fool-proof methods as they are needed. It helps that GERSTEL keeps coming-up with lots of useful new ideas in this area all the time.

As things have developed, we have seen customers beginning to settle upon a common hardware configuration, that seems to represent the optimum sample preparation and introduction system for labs involved in non-routine food and beverage analysis. We have decided to bundle this configuration and give it a name.

Allow me to introduce you to the MultiFlex system.

The MultiFlex comprises a combination of the GERSTEL CIS 4 Cooled Injection System, TDU Twister Desorption System, ATEX Automated Tube Exchanger with a Dual Head MPS Multi-Purpose Sampler – all controlled by Maestro software – it is a MultiFlex system that we have chosen to install on our brand-new Agilent 7200 GC/q-TOF in our Cambridge laboratory.

When spending a large sum of money on a high-performance, accurate-mass GC-MS, it makes no sense to be stingy with the sample preparation. We need to be able to deal with any sample our customers ask us to look at.

The logic behind the MultiFlex is rooted in the fact that of the various sampling techniques that can be applied to volatiles in foods and beverage (Headspace/SPME/SBSE/Dynamic Headspace/FET) all have different  analytical characteristics and the most beneficial approach is to have a battery of techniques readily available. Flexibility is everything.

I will briefly sumarise the capabilities that the Multiflex brings. If you want to have more in-depth technical information, We can supply you with a full pack of application notes that detail the vast range of sample preparation options the MultiFlex offers:

  • Automated desorption of Twister stir bars (stir bar sorptive extraction).
  • Hot Injection and Trapping (HIT) – can be used with a variety of volatile sampling techniques to combine multiple extractions into a single injection onto the column. This works with, SPME, static headspace sampling, stir bar sorptive extraction, thermal desorption and thermal extraction (and dynamic headspace as an option).
  • Automated Tube Exchange – enables the injection of dirty sample matrices in a way that retains involatile material within a disposable micro-vial, while transfering volatile material only, to the column.
  • Large volume injection.
  • Conventional liquid, headspace and SPME sampling, but with the benefit of auto-spiking (removes the need for you to add standards and surrogates by hand).
  • Dynamic Headspace Sampling is available as an option and can be used with Fully Evaporative Transfer (FET) for non-selective sampling of both volatile and semi-volatile species.

So, if the samples that you deal with are complex, contain significant compounds in trace amounts and often come from fatty, sugary or protein loaded sources, then the MultiFlex will give you the best possible chance of getting the results you need, whatever the samples that you encounter.

If you already have (or are planning to buy) a Dual Head GERSTEL MPS, there is an upgrade path to the MultiFlex. If this is something you are interested in doing, please call and we can advise you.

Unfortunately, you cannot get to a full Multiflex system by upgrading from an existing standard single head MPS or a CTC CombiPal.

If you would like to know more about the MultiFlex, we can send you a pack of information that contains detailed application notes covering the capabilities and techniques mentioned here.

To recieve a copy call us on +44 (0) 1223 279210 or email: