Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction – Are We Missing Something?

Martin Perkins

4th April 2011

The European wine industry - a major user of SBSE

The European wine industry is an important user of Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction

A few weeks ago, at Pittcon 2011 in Atlanta, I bumped into David Benanou of Veolia Water. David informed me that he had recently attracted over 1,200 people to a conference in France that he had organized, on the topic of Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction.

That is a staggeringly large number of delegates for a sample preparation meeting. All the more so, since the meeting was in French – it wasn’t even an international meeting!

Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction is a big deal.  Search Google and you will get back in excess of 47,000 hits. If you restrict your search to scholarly articles only, you still get over 5,000 hits. There is no doubt that Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE) is an important and widely used extraction technique and it is very relevant if you use gas chromatography mass spectrometry (gc-ms) and are involved in the analysis of food, flavours, fragrances, water or environmental samples.

If you page through the entries found by Google, you will notice that there are very few articles published by analysts working in the UK. Anatune distibutes the GERSTEL Twister SBSE product line in the British Isles and the best that I could say is that sales of Twister stir bar are steady. Steady yes. Spectacular no.

So why isn’t SBSE so widely used here?

In small part, we lack a few industries that are major SBSE users on the continent (the wine industry for example), but I believe the main reason, is that here ,SBSE was never launched properly when it was new. As a consequence SBSE has yet to reach the critical point here where it becomes regarded by analysts as a mainstream extraction technology, that should always be considered when developing new analytical methods.

For Anatune, this week is our Twister Workshop Week. These workshops are focused upon food, beverage and flavour applications and are fully booked with all 12 places taken. This is a far cry from the 1,200 people David Benanou got along to his meeting in Paris, but, we filled the places on our workshops easily and I sense a gentle stirring in the attention given to SBSE and Twister in the UK.

Large oaks from little acorns grow…

We will be running more Twister SBSE workshops later in the year, if you are interested in learning more email: or call: 01954 212909.