Solid-Phase Extraction

December 9, 2009

E-Separation Solutions

E-Separation Solutions-12-09-2009, Volume 0, Issue 0

Solid-phase extraction (SPE) has been commercially available for over twenty years and is still finding new applications.

Solid-phase extraction (SPE) has been commercially available for over twenty years and is still finding new applications. Growth of this technique seems to be largely a function of the vendors’ capability to provide specific application support, especially in clinical sciences, pharmaceuticals, toxicology, pesticides, and residues analysis.

Extraction Aftermarket and Service Share

The market can be segmented into three product types: automated, non-automated systems, and related aftermarket products. Non-automated systems are assemblies of hardware products that are used in combination with SPE columns, plates and disks. These products include vacuum pumps, manifolds and evaporation systems, which require little if any maintenance and are easy to operate and set-up. Due to the relatively low cost, they are utilized primarily in labs with low throughput requirements and thus cannot justify the purchase of an automated system.

Automated systems are somewhat expensive ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, but are perhaps the most practical solution when preparing a large number of samples. Many automated SPE systems are liquid handling stations, which are often used to satisfy high throughput requirements of combinatorial chemistry, drug discovery and development laboratories. Other automated SPE systems have the ability to directly inject purified and concentrated samples into an HPLC, GC, MS, or NMR system for online SPE automation.

SPE, however, is most often performed manually. In most cases, its ease-of-use, inexpensiveness, and disposability make manually operated SPE cartridges, discs, and plates preferable to automated systems. Cartridges are the most popular format having a broader selection of solid phases than discs and plates. Discs are slightly more expensive than cartridges, but offer the ability to accommodate higher flow rates, which is advantageous in many environmental applications.

SPE is the largest segment in the general spectrum of extraction techniques such as soxhlett/liquid liquid extraction (LLE), accelerated/pressurized solvent extraction (ASE/PSE), and supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), accounting for over two thirds of the market demand. SPE is heavily used in pharmaceutical labs in addition to hospital/clinical and contract research/organization laboratories.

The foregoing data was extracted and adapted from SDi's Global Assessment Report, 10.5 Edition. For more information, contact Glenn Cudiamat, VP of Research Services, Strategic Directions International, Inc., 6242 Westchester Parkway, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90045, tel. (310) 641-4982, fax (310) 641-8851,

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