If you are tired of shaking liquid-liquid extractions (LLE) and want to move onto a technique that is less labor-intensive, solid phase extraction (SPE) may be your answer! There are manual as well as automated options available for solid phase extraction. It may seem like more work for your lab to move to a different technique, but what you gain in time savings may be worth it to you in the end.

    Now, the move from LLE to automated SPE might be a hesitant one, maybe because you don’t want to lose control of the extraction process or the steps to process a sample. Well, just because you decide to move to SPE, does not mean that you give up control of your extraction process. You simply just move to the manual SPE option. This is a really good first step for some labs because it allows the analyst to become comfortable and familiar with the steps that may seem “nit-picky,” but are really important to the extraction process. For example, there is a saturation step, which basically draws the solvent into the media bed. This may seem silly at first glance, but it’s not. I promise.

    Biotage has different options for manual SPE system that include the Biotage® VacMaster™ Disk , which can be used in conjunction with Atlantic® Disk and Atlantic® ReadyDisk lines, or the Biotage® VacMaster 10 or 20, which can be used in conjunction with our ISOLUTE® and EVOLUTE® cartridge lines. Either of these might be an easy transition into manual SPE extraction. With manual SPE, you still keep control of the extraction process, while moving away from the more labor-intensive LLE extraction technique.

    You could also just go for it and jump right into fully automated SPE extraction. Manual control of the extraction process is replaced, however, what you gain from automation is invaluable - TIME and LESS SAMPLE VARIABILITY. As we all know, productivity within a lab is vital for success. If an analyst can free up the time it takes to perform all the extractions steps, it allows for additional tasks to be completed. Multitasking not only helps to break up the monotony of a day, but it also helps get more done within the lab in a day.

    Another big benefit of moving to automation is the consistency between analysts who run the extractions. Once programmed, the instrument will deliver the necessary solvents based upon that stored method. The analyst only needs to ensure that the solvent bottles have enough solvent, and the instrument is clean (to prevent contamination of other samples). Other than that, the instrument is programmed to get the job done.

    For automated SPE, Biotage offers the Biotage® Horizon 5000 as well as the Biotage® Horizon 3100. The method or application that you plan to run will determine which instrument is right for your lab. The Horizon 5000 can perform a variety of extractions, including EPA Method 1664B for oil and grease extractions. While the Horizon 3100 is a dedicated system designed specifically for oil and grease extractions.

    Are you still struggling with whether you want to move to solid phase extraction? Read our previous blog post that reviews the basics of solid phase extraction.

    For more application and technical information, read more blog posts.

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