When in the lab I always try to streamline and improve workflows. One of the biggest bottlenecks in the lab I’ve experienced and maybe you have too, is the drying of sample extracts.

    When extracting environmental samples, they likely have residual water. Removing water from environmental samples ensures you will get the most accurate and consistent results with both analytical and gravimetric methods. The drying of extracts can be either defined by the method or may have flexibility allowing you to use what is available as long as all quality control criteria are satisfied.

    A workflow solution that has worked for me and will save your sample prep lab time and effort is in-line drying using the Biotage® Horizon 3100 and ISOLUTE® Sodium Sulfate Cartridge . This cartridge is a gamechanger that fits directly onto the Horizon 3100’s collection vessel adapter. When your extraction has been completed, all you have to do is evaporate your solvent since the sample extract will be completely free of residual water. When using solid-phase extraction (SPE) with the Horizon 3100 there is minimal water as there are multiple airdry steps and methanol is used to dry as well. The ISOLUTE® Sodium Sulfate Cartridge has been a great option for me when running samples with SPE. These cartridges contain 2.5 grams of sodium sulfate which is more than enough to dry your sample extracts and if you are concerned about not have enough capacity you can even stack multiple cartridges on top of each other.

    When working with the Biotage® Horizon 3100 and Sodium Sulfate Cartridge on 3100 completeEPA method 1664B, options for drying extracts include the use of sodium sulfate or solvent phase separation paper. While both are great options for drying extracts, they require some prep before use. With all products, you need to ensure that they are free of any contaminants that may interfere with the analysis so with sodium sulfate you will need to bake out the sodium sulfate in a muffle furnace (which takes hours) or with separation paper, you solvent rinse the disk. Both products may require extra glassware or equipment and space to use them properly. These techniques work great for many labs and I still use them for many methods but what if you don’t have space or just simply want to improve your sample workflow to increase throughput while achieving excellent results and consistency?

    I have found that when using the ISOLUTE® SodiumSodium Sulfate Cartridge on 3100 Sulfate Cartridges in line with the Horizon 3100 they make a difference not only streamlining the extraction procedure but for sample consistency and results. Whenever I can implement an automated step or use an in-line procedure that results in the same or better results I will. Bottlenecks in the lab can cause a domino effect or problems like backed up samples, not enough glassware, improper decontamination of products, and eventually re-extractions. There is nothing worse than making all the effort in extracting, drying, and concentrating/evaporating only to find out you have inconsistent results and not hitting the method requirement or even worse to find that the quality control samples and the batch has been contaminated. This one little component can alleviate a lot of pain sweat and tears by taking out the possibility for human error.

    When using the ISOLUTE® Sodium Sulfate Cartridge with the Biotage® Horizon 3100 in combination with the Speed-Vap® solvent evaporation system it makes for a very efficient workflow that will streamline your laboratory no matter what your throughput needs are. For more information, download our latest application note.

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