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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Microbial and Chemical Food Safety » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374583

Research Project: Development, Evaluation, and Validation of Technologies for the Detection and Characterization of Chemical Contaminants in Foods

Location: Microbial and Chemical Food Safety

Title: There is no time to waste: low-pressure gas chromatography–mass spectrometry is a proven solution for fast, sensitive, and robust GC–MS analysis

item Lehotay, Steven
item DE ZEEUW, JAAP - Restek Corporation (UNITED STATES)
item Sapozhnikova, Yelena
item MICHLIG, NICOLAS - Universidad Nacional Del Litoral
item ROUSOVA, JANA - Restek Corporation (UNITED STATES)
item KONSCHNIK, JOSEPH - Restek Corporation (UNITED STATES)

Submitted to: LC GC North America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/10/2020
Publication Date: 8/19/2020
Citation: Lehotay, S.J., De Zeeuw, J., Sapozhnikova, Y.V., Michlig, N., Rousova, J., Konschnik, J.D. 2020. There is no time to waste: low-pressure gas chromatography–mass spectrometry is a proven solution for fast, sensitive, and robust GC–MS analysis. LC GC North America. 38(8):457-464.

Interpretive Summary: For nearly 80 years, gas chromatography (GC) has been a central tool in analytical chemistry for organic molecules that remain stable and volatilize when heated. In the 1970s, mass spectrometry (MS) was coupled with GC using capillary columns for the first time, but GC-MS analyses still commonly take 30-45 minutes per sample. However, the speed of analysis is 3-4 times faster by extending the vacuum of the MS detector all the way up the capillary in an approach known as low-pressure (LP) GC-MS or vacuum-GC. This work describes the concept in an update including the presentation of new results that demonstrates the many benefits of LPGC-MS for more widespread use in many applications and labs around the world. This will help to spread the usage of the approach to save 20-40 minutes per sample multiplied by millions of samples analyzed per year, if fully implemented.

Technical Abstract: Low-pressure gas chromatography (LPGC), or vacuum-GC, has been known to be advantageous vs. standard GC since Giddings first described the concept in 1962, but a practical solution for its use eluded analytical chemists until the year 2000 when de Zeeuw fashioned a simple guard column restrictor concept to maintain positive inlet pressure for a wide-bore analytical column under vacuum. Initially introduced as Rapid-MS, this invention made LPGC practical in nearly any GC application using mass spectrometry (MS) for detection. Lehotay et al. have demonstrated the advantageous features, excellent performance, and practical utility of LPGC-MS(/MS) in dozens of publications since 2001. In our experience, LPGC-MS is the most practical and beneficial fast-GC technique available to achieve <10 min analyses in applications that typically take 20-40 min. Sample capacity and column robustness are increased greatly using LPGC to permit large-volume injection with standard inlets without column maintenance, and since vacuum conditions generate taller peaks that are still suitable for standard MS data acquisition rates, sensitivity is also increased. Furthermore, enhanced selectivity of detection using modern MS tools and software compensates for reduced chromatographic peak capacity. In our view, vacuum GC should be the first option for evaluation in many GC-MS applications to provide fast, sensitive, and robust analyses.