An Overview of Solid Phase Extraction (SPE)

Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) is an extraction method that uses a solid phase and a liquid phase to isolate one, or one type, of analyte from a solution. It is usually used to clean up a sample before using a chromatographic or other analytical method to quantitate the amount of analyte(s) in the sample.

The general solid phase extraction procedure is to load a solution onto the stationary phase, wash away undesired components, and then wash off the desired analytes with another solvent into a collection tube. Solid phase extractions performed by instruments use the same type of stationary phases as are used in liquid chromatography columns. The stationary phase is contained in a glass or plastic column above a frit or glass wool. The column might have a frit on top of the stationary phase and might also have a stopcock to control the flow of solvent through the column. Commercial solid phase extraction cartridges have 1 to 60 mL capacities and are discarded after use. A vacuum manifold or positive pressure pump which increases the solvent flow rate through the cartridge is sometimes used. A collection tube is placed beneath the SPE cartridge to collect the liquid that passes through the column.

SPE is used to for many sample matrix types such as: water, beverages, serum, urine, milk, pharmaceuticals and food products. Some sample matrices are complex and have multiple interferences that make it difficult to analyze the compound of interest. You can use solid phase extraction to remove these interferences and to improve the quantification of the target compounds. SPE can also clean up the sample matrix, keeping your analytical instruments, such as mass spectrometers, free of reduced responses. SPE is also used as a fractionation tool that allows you to separate a large range of compounds from one sample, such as aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons from an extractable petroleum hydrocarbon sample. It allows for one sample to be analyzed for two things. SPE is effective for concentrating trace levels of compounds of interest onto the SPE cartridge by passing large volumes of sample matrix across the cartridge and then eluting the compounds of interest off of the SPE cartridge.

While SPE is a valuable technique that scientists have come to rely on for years, it is not without its procedural problems. Most SPE extractions are performed manually and require many sequential steps before the final extraction is complete and ready for analytical analysis. FMS, Inc. designs and develops instruments that hyphenate and combine these multiple steps so they may be performed automatically and unattended. All of the extraction, drying and concentration steps required to get the sample ready for final analysis have been automated, thereby reducing labor, eliminating human error and increasing the consistency and reproducibility of the analytical results.



TurboTrace® Sequential Parallel Automated Solid Phase Extraction  System 

TThe TurboTrace Sequential Parallel Automated Solid Phase Extraction System is a One-Step Extraction and Concentration System is designed to streamline your laboratory’s workflow and increase productivity by automating the manual steps in your sample preparation process. The TurboTrace Sequential Parallel Automated Solid Phase Extraction System automates existing manual SPE techniques and replaces older manual Liquid-Liquid Extraction techniques and outdated semi-automated instruments.

The TurboTrace Sequential Parallel Automated Solid Phase Extraction System is the only SPE system that combines extraction, drying and concentration into one step -- providing a truly automated total sample prep solution for the laboratory. Simply load samples onto the PowerPrep SPE system to trigger the automated extraction process. After loading the sample onto the SPE cartridge, the drying step is accomplished using Nitrogen. This drying step replaces manual techniques. The analytes of interest are then eluted directly to the SuperVap Concentrator where the concentration process automatically brings the extract to final volume and places it directly into an autosampler vial, ready for final analysis. Automating these processes into one step ensures the highest quality results in the shortest amount of time and eliminates both human error and the possibility of contamination.

The TurboTrace Sequential Parallel Automated Solid Phase Extraction System uses positive pressure pumping for precise and accurate delivery of conditioning, washing and elution solvents. The TurboTrace Sequential Parallel Automated Solid Phase Extraction System is specifically designed to isolate analytes of interest from a wide variety of liquid matrices such as urine, blood, water, milk, beverages. Sample sizes range from 2 mL to 8 L and use the same bottle the sample was collected in. Sample loading rates are programmable. A vacuum or positive pressure pump is used to load samples onto the SPE cartridges and columns at unprecedented speeds and it easily handles both clean and tough sample matrices. The TurboTrace Sequential Parallel Automated Solid Phase Extraction System concentrates samples up to 250 mL directly to a GC vial. The Sample Processing Module is designed to use all standard formats of SPE cartridges and columns on the market today. For guaranteed results, especially when dealing with low limits of detection, we recommend FMS prepacked columns and cartridges. Sample Processing Modules can be easily swapped out to perform cleanup column chemistries allowing the lab to multipurpose the PowerPrep to automate other sample prep processes.

Reduces Errors
One-step automated SPE and concentration eliminates human error, saves labor costs and reduces solvent usage while increasing your sample throughput

Fully Automated
Hyphenates the entire sample prep process--extraction, drying and concentration steps--into a one step program.

Runs up to five different methods/sample matrices sequentially 

Concentrates samples up to 250 mL directly to a GC vial.

Automatic Sample bottle rinse

High Speed
The fastest automated sample processing available for SPE cartridges and columns

Run up to six samples simultaneously, up to 30 samples total

Vacuum for fast loading of large volume samples 

Handles a wide range of sample sizes and all matrix types

Sample Sizes 2 mL to 8 L

Expandable from 1 to 6 modules

Uses all SPE cartridge and column sizes

Positive pressure pumping for loading small volume samples

Nitrogen drying 

Complies with existing methods that require vacuum, positive pressure pumping for the precise delivery of sample and solvents

Dispenses up to six solvents using an HPLC pump to deliver precise volumes and flow rates for conditioning and elution

Easy Documentation
Programs and stores an unlimited number of methods and runs

Easy-to-use software

PowerPrep Multi-Column Sample Cleanup System 
The PowerPrep Multi-Column Sample Cleanup System is the only automated sample processing system of its kind available today. It is an automated liquid chromatography system that performs simultaneous sample processing unattended. The total sample preparation process; ­sample loading, washing, elution, fraction collection, and concentration is performed automatically.
SuperVap 6 250 mL Concentrator 
The SuperVap system is an automated, standalone, direct-to-vial concentrator that replaces older techniques such as KD, nitrogen blow down and water baths. By automating what were once manual evaporation and concentration processes, the SuperVap concentration system accelerates your sample throughput, lowers labor costs, and improves the consistency of your results by eliminating the variability inherent in manual sample prep procedures.
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TurboTrace SPE

Dimensions: 15” W x 18” D x 35” H

Weight: 130 lbs.

Gas Requirements: Nitrogen - 20 PSI minimum

Vacuum Requirements: 25” Hg minimum

Pump: Piston Displacement

Flow rate: 0.2 to 15 mL/minute

Electrical Input: 110/220 Volts, 50/60 HZ

Controller: PC based


SuperVapVap Concentration System

Dimensions:7” W x 13” D x 12” H

Weight: 20 lbs.

Gas Requirements: Nitrogen - 20 PSI minimum

Electrical Input: 110/220 Volts, 50/60 HZ

Controller: PC based

Bath: Dry