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Training at Anatune

Martin Perkins

20th October 2016

Basic GC-MS, Centrifugation, Dynamic Headspace, SBSE, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry, SIFT-MS, Solid Phase Microextraction, SPME, Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction, Training, Twister,


On Monday, I was fortunate enough to spend the day at Anatune, in Cambridge.  I had emailed Dan Carrier, their Applications Laboratory Manager, asking a few questions about his work which were related to a university project which I was writing.  Dan was kind enough to invite me down to have a look at the equipment in question, despite having already answered my questions via a phone call he offered to set up!

Upon my arrival I sat down with Camilla, one of the Applications Chemists at Anatune, where we discussed my project extensively looking for some possible solutions to the issues that I had experienced.  After this, we headed down to the lab, where she first showed me something which I had only read about on their website, automated sample preparation.  Camilla explained to me the principles of the automation, which were two-fold: to allow analysts to focus on more specialist tasks (such as data evaluation or report writing) and to ensure correct and reproducible sample preparation every time.

The automated system is capable of performing a diverse range of tasks, including addition of solvents or sample, shaking, centrifugation and many more.  Camilla showed me the system perform a number of these, and later allowed me to get to grips with writing an example method using the GERSTEL software.

We then moved onto the sample enrichment techniques, all of which I had only read about online or via books.  It’s one thing to understand the theory behind these techniques, but when you see the instrumentation in reality it really sets your understanding in stone.  With each technique Camilla explained the basic principles, the advantages each system brings with it and we discussed its possible application to my project.  Over the course of the morning we ran through Dynamic Headspace, Solid Phase Microextraction and Twister Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction.

After this another Applications Chemist, Mark, sat me down and ran through the ideas behind a technique which I was introduced to in the few days leading up to the visit: Single Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS).  Mark ran through the whole technique, explaining the theory, its advantages over GC-MS and its applications to the real world.  It was staggering to think that when using GC, a run time of 15 minutes is considered good, but for SIFT-MS you can have real time results within 30 seconds.  A demonstration followed showing the effects of chewing mints on the chemical composition of your breath, and he showed me some other example data from previous tests they had performed.

I gained so much knowledge and experienced so many new technologies within the space of a single day.  I cannot thank Dan, Camilla and Mark enough for their help, advice and for making me feel so welcome during my visit!

Note from Dan Carrier:

Anatune does feel passionate about analytical training for our customers.  We take training at Anatune very seriously as automated sample preparation methods which we provide only works well with trained staff.  We just started our joint venture with Crawford Scientific on Basic GC-MS which has been a success and well attended.  Please contact our Marketing Manager Sue Roach, if you would be interested in a second basic GC-MS training course.

We will be holding a Webinar on Liquid-Liquid Extraction on the 23rd November.  If you are interested in attending, please let me know.

Thanks Harry, it was a pleasure to have you at Anatune!!