Sample Preparation

In the fields of chromatography and drug discovery, sample preparation is defined as the process samples undergo in order to transform into a substance suitable for chemical analysis. Sample preparation is also often use to improve the quality of scientific analysis.

What is sample preparation? (Definition)

In the fields of chromatography and drug discovery, sample preparation is defined as the process samples undergo in order to transform into a substance suitable for chemical analysis. Sample preparation is also often use to improve the quality of scientific analysis.

Commonly, researchers complete a number of steps during the process of sample preparation to ensure the substrate is transformed into the optimal form for the selected type of chromatographic analysis. As the intermediate stage between sample collection and chromatographic assay, sample preparation is influenced by the specifics of both processes.

Why sample preparation is important?

The importance of sample preparation lies in the end result. At the end of the procedure, scientists obtain a processed sample which they can then further examine during the analysis stage with the help of a chromatographic instrument. A successful sample preparation, then, will produce a sample of a much higher overall quality compared to the original substance.

While this improvement in quality cannot be measured by a single variable, using a processed sample which is cleaner, more concentrated, easier to introduce to the main assay system or chemically enhanced to aid separation and detection (as well as any combination of these) is guaranteed to produce more accurate research findings.

Sample preparation methods

There are various sample preparation methods available to scientists, and which one you choose is heavily informed by the subsequent steps included in your sample analysis. Each different method of sample preparation is designed to improve a specific type of analysis, so it’s worth examining your options to make sure you obtain the most accurate results from your analysis. 

Since sample preparation is the most time-consuming part of a scientific assay, the goal is to use as few different methods as possible. By keeping the number of your sample preparation methods to a minimum, you can ensure optimal processing times, avoid potential errors and improve the accuracy of your results.

That being said, using a few different sample preparation methods in conjunction with each other can sometimes lead to better overall results. For instance, sample preparation can be used to target both the matrix and the analytes of a sample through a common combination of methods. This commonly involves dissolving the solid sample then putting the solution through a series of cleanup and concentration processes to modify the matrix and using a chemical reaction to modify the analytes.

Sample preparation in chromatography

Complex techniques combining different sample preparation methods, such as the one described above, are often used to ensure the optimal condition of a sample prior to chromatographic analysis. In fact, there are a number of different techniques designed specifically for sample preparation in chromatography, as well as a series of general sample preparation methods for cleanup and concentration which can be used during chromatographic analysis.

We know it can be challenging choosing from an assortment of methods designed to serve the same objective, so we put together our top three sample preparation techniques that will allow you to obtain high-quality results without needlessly complicating your analytical process.

Sample preparation techniques

Phospholipid Removal

With the aid of our revolutionary Microluteä Phospholipid Removal (PLR) plate, you can remove a wide range of phospholipids from samples prior to UPLC/HPLC analysis and maximise analyte response in a way that’s both reproducible and efficient. By eliminating phospholipids that cause ion suppression in MS sources, the Microluteä PLR plate prevents any potential damage to the research equipment they can cause by sticking to precious UPLC/HPLC columns.

Supported liquid extraction

Supported liquid extraction (SLE) is a handy alternative to liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) which has surprisingly been kept relatively low key despite its benefits. This sample preparation method is similar to LLE in chemistry, using differential solubility as the basis of separation between single compounds.

The main difference between the methods comes from the physical side of the sample preparation, which in the case of SLE includes a number of added benefits, such as increased extraction efficiency and improved automation capabilities which allow for better recovery and reproduction.

Our Microluteä SLE system features a 96 well plate and uses up less organic solvent, which significantly reduce your spending on glassware and solvent consumption. What’s more, the SLE sample preparation technique requires less labour and enables scientists to eliminate the emulsions commonly formed during the process of LLE.

Solid Phase Extraction

Solid Phase Extraction is a popular sample preparation method used for processing liquid sample mixtures and separating individual components based on their unique chemical and physical properties. Our unique Microluteä SPE system comes in the original 96-well plate format and enables scientists to seamlessly implement SPE by chromatographically separating the individual compounds.

Browse our full range of sample preparation systems and Microlute Instruments above.

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