Need for femtogram-level quantitative analysis is expanding, says Shimadzu

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Shimadzu GCMS-TQ8050 Triple Quadrupole GC-MS
Shimadzu GCMS-TQ8050 Triple Quadrupole GC-MS
Shimadzu has launched the GCMS-TQ8050 Triple Quadrupole GC-MS for ultra-trace analysis.

The top-of-the-line GC-MS/MS system can detect ultra-trace concentrations of components to femtogram level and maintain these sensitivity levels for long periods.

It is for applications such as analyzing ultra-trace concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) or endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment or impurities in pharmaceuticals.

A turbomolecular pump achieves a superior vacuum state in the MS unit. This results in higher sensitivity and stability and improves analysis accuracy for ultra-trace concentration levels.

Quantification at the femtogram level expanding

Stéphane Moreau, product manager MS and Life Sciences at Shimadzu Europa, said: “The analysis of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs has been open to GC-MS/MS in June 2014. Such analysis requires systems able to quantify at the femtogram level.

“For routine analysis, cost per sample is a major issue for every laboratory. Increasing detector lifetime improves the cost efficiency and thus allows the user to cut down internal costs.”

After introducing the GCMS-TQ8030 triple quadrupole gas chromatograph mass spectrometer in 2012, Shimadzu launched the GCMS-TQ8040 in 2014. The GCMS-TQ8030 was stopped when the GCMS-TQ8040 came to market.

The GCMS-TQ8040 and the GCMS-TQ8050 cover different needs ranging from routine multi-components analysis like pesticides to highly sensitive analysis of dioxins.

With the increasing sensitivity available in GC-MS/MS systems, applications needing systems capable of femtogram-level quantitative analysis is expanding worldwide, said the firm.  

It is well recognized that high tension on a detector is shortening the lifetime of that unit.

The new detector can be used for femtogram-level ultra-trace analysis without applying undue loads. That makes premature deterioration unlikely and results in maintaining ultra-high sensitivity five times longer.

In Europe, high-resolution GC-MS systems were almost exclusively used to analyze dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in foods and animal feed but in 2014 GC-MS/MS was added as a method for confirmation analysis.

Noise reduction and sensitivity boost

The GCMS-TQ8050 features noise reduction technologies which help achieve sensitivity levels (2.5 times higher signal-to-noise ratio than the previous model).

The firm said this means dioxins and endocrine disrupting chemicals in foods can be quantitated with higher accuracy and reliability than before.

Robustness has been improved and maintenance frequency and costs reduced by including a highly stable ion source with patented technology and a quadrupole equipped with pre-rods.

Using analysis technology (UFsweeper) offered in existing models, the system can analyze samples using multiple modes, such as high-speed scanning and scan/MRM modes.

It achieves high-speed MRM analysis at speeds up to 800 transitions per second. It sweeps residual ions from the collision cell to provide high-efficiency CID and fast ion transport.

Moreau said proprietary technologies involving off-axis Q2 and Q3, overdrive lens and a new shield plate on the detector allow the reduction of noise, allowing robust quantitation of microtraces.

He added the ion source has been proven in the GCMS-TQ8040 and the GCMS-QP2020 for daily use as it is robust, inert and easy to exchange quickly.

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