Sample Preparation: General

March 2, 2008

E-Separation Solutions

I attended session 220, "Sample Preparation: General," on Sunday afternoon. As Frank Dorman of Restek Corporation, who presided over the session noted, the weather here is much nicer than it was last year in Chicago, and he was happy to see a good crowd gathered for this session.

Welcome to Pittcon, and another gorgeous, sunny day in the Crescent City. For me, this year's Pittcon trip started on a very high note, because on my flight from New Jersey to New Orleans on Friday morning was none other than Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning. As a long-time Giants fan who never gave up on my team, meeting this humble superstar was a dream come true.

Speaking of never giving up, it's nice to be here in New Orleans, where the spirit of the people is alive and well despite the fact that there is still much to do to help the city recover from the devastation of Katrina. I encourage you to enjoy all that the city has to offer in between sessions here at Pittcon.

Now on to the sessions. I attended session 220, "Sample Preparation: General," on Sunday afternoon. As Frank Dorman of Restek Corporation, who presided over the session noted, the weather here is much nicer than it was last year in Chicago, and he was happy to see a good crowd gathered for this session.

Opening the session was Bruce Richter from Dionex, who discussed "Advances in Automated Sample Preparation." He spoke about the Accelerated Solvent Extraction (ASE) product line and the new models that are being introduced here at Pittcon. An important feature of these new models is the pH hardened pathway with Dionium components, which are resistant to both acids and bases and allow these instruments to be more versatile than previous models. Discussion of this topic was continued later in the session by Brian Dorich, also of Dionex.

Gregory Bullock, from Seton Hall University, discussed "Measuring Physicochemical Constants Using Headspace-Gas Chromatography," based on previously published literature and work he did with co-author Nicholas H. Snow. One of his conclusions was that pressure-balanced headspace sampling yields more consistent and precise values than non-pressurized sampling.

Another interesting presentation during this session was given by Steven W. Lloyd from the USDA. His topic was "From Alfalfa Through Popcorn to Sweet: The Analytical Chemistry of Rice Flavors." He discussed the fact that many different types of flavors can be detected by experts, but that it is important also to have analytical methods that can correlate the sensory and analytical data to determine optimal storage conditions for whole grain rice and to detect adulteration in scented rice varieties. The methods he discusses, SPME, SPDE, and ITEX, are all completely automated, and each has both strengths and weaknesses, depending on what qualities you are trying to determine.

This was a great start to Pittcon, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions.