Agilent is on the Cover! Twice!!

Two different research papers involving Agilent have made the covers of prestigious scientific journals in the same month.  Papers earn this distinction when they are particularly novel, creative, and the science is rigorous.

Both studies involve solutions that are unique to Agilent and cannot easily be duplicated by other providers.  (This is going to get a little technical.  Do not be alarmed.)

Analytical Chemistry reports on a new method for screening drugs of abuse (DoA).  The current epidemic of prescription drug abuse and its global impact on public health necessitates new technologies for fast and accurate screening.

Current methodologies based on immunoassays cannot reliably detect emerging psychoactive stimulants, tranquilizers and synthetic opioids.  The results can often be complicated by false-positive results.  A new method, based on MSI-CE-MS, provides rapid and non-targeted screening for a broad spectrum of DoA and their metabolites, including designer drugs that currently elude conventional drug tests.

Testing was performed using an Agilent ion funnel QTOF mass spectrometer, dual JetStream electrospray ionization source, Capillary Electrophoresis unit and MassHunter software.  This approach is particularly novel and important because:

  • It utilizes the unique separating capabilities of capillary electrophoresis (CE), which separates compounds based on charge and electrophoretic mobility in water.
  • It allows for direct injection of urine samples without sample preparation. CE can analyze for these charged molecules of interest without interference from salts that can cause ion suppression and interferences.
  • Samples are continuously multiplexed, which provides unique high throughput capabilities while maintaining quantitative accuracy and data integrity.

Analytical Methods (a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry) reports on a new method for determining polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in surface water.  PAHs are environmental pollutants and pyrogenic compounds resulting from sources ranging from forest fires to the burning of fossil fuels.  Many PAH compounds are classified as carcinogens, and are in a list of Top 10 Hazardous Substances maintained by the U.S.  The detection and measurement of PAH compounds are among the most common tests performed by analytical testing laboratories.

The new simplified method, based on an Agilent 7000C GC-MS/MS triple quadrupole mass spectrometer, provides enhanced sensitivity for the determination of 18 PAHs.

  • It is a novel approach based on commonly performed methods (such as US EPA methods 610 and 3510c and the Canadian CCME Tier 1 Petroleum hydrocarbon analysis).
  • The method is based on a pseudoMRM approach for analysis of target PAH, with helium-only collision gas. The extremely high sensitivity of this approach allows for extraction of very small volumes of water (as low as 50 milliliters) for detection down to 2 parts per trillion.
  • The method is robust, accurate, linear over a large dynamic range (4.5 orders), passed multiple proficiency tests and has been used to measure over a thousand water samples from oil spill cases and other environmental monitoring projects
  • The unique design of the Agilent GC-MS/MS instrument allows for switching between classical MRM experiments (using nitrogen collision gas) and the soft pseudoMRM (using He only) by a setting in the method, requiring no further hardware adjustments.

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