If you are tired of shaking liquid-liquid extractions (LLE) and want to move onto a technique that is less labor-intensive, solid phase extraction (SPE) may be your answer! There are manual as well as automated options available for solid phase extraction. It may seem like more work for your lab to move to a different technique, but what you gain in time savings may be worth it to you in the end.
Continue reading Why move to Manual or Automated Solid Phase Extraction?
Every step within a solid phase extraction (SPE) procedure is imperative, but one of the most important steps that must be done properly is the air-dry step. As you may know, the conditioning step prepares the SPE prior to the sample load to ensure that the sample load process will capture the analytes of interest within the media bed. However, once the sample is done loading, there is a lot of water that is left on the disk. Depending on the solvents that you are using following sample load and the analytes you are capturing, an improperly dried SPE disk could ruin your day.
Continue reading Why does your SPE disk need to be dry?
Ugh…I think we can all agree that the worst thing that can happen when testing high profile samples is losing an extract due to phthalate contamination. Whether you are extracting 525.2 or 625.1 samples, phthalates can ruin your day and wreak great havoc, causing false positives! We wonder where they all come from and how they got in the extract in the first place because we try our best to make sure our lab supplies and instruments are clean. As we all know though…phthalates are literally everywhere floating around in the air and settling on surfaces. However, I am here to talk about one place in particular: solvent squeeze bottles. We take extra precautions when refilling our squeeze bottles, but there is always the potential of introducing phthalates into them if they are not refilled or used properly.
Continue reading Common Mistakes by the Lab Series: The Pain of Contaminated Squeeze Bottles
Have you ever thought to yourself I wish there was one way to effectively extract all of our aqueous samples? For instance, there are several methods available to extract aqueous samples, such as extraction method 3510 liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), method 3520 continuous liquid-liquid extraction (CLLE), and method 3535 solid-phase extraction (SPE). Wouldn’t it be more convenient to use one extraction method within the lab for most if not all of your aqueous extractions?
Continue reading Simplifying Water Extractions with SPE – One Matrix, One Method Extraction
It is question and answer time and we are starting with TurboVap® evaporators and their use in an environmental lab. The TurboVap® evaporation system by design utilizes a patented gas vortex shearing technology. You may be asking yourself, “what does that mean?” I know I did when I first heard about it! Read on to learn more about what this does for your lab evaporation.
Continue reading What does gas vortex shearing do in evaporation? Why should I care?
Do you have issues seeing acceptable recovery of your phenols? I know I do. These compounds can be challenging to recover and quantitate, and are also found just about everywhere! Read on to learn a couple of fun facts about phenols, but first, let’s explain why phenols can be difficult to work with.
Continue reading Why are my phenol recoveries low on my EPA Method 8270/625.1 extractions?
Have you ever put your water sample onto your Biotage® Horizon 3100 extractor and all your prewet/conditioning steps worked great and then suddenly, the water inlet valve opens, and nothing happens! This can be terrifying because a lot is riding on those samples! If you notice this right when it happens, a simple wiggle of the sample bottle should introduce air into the bottle releasing the water, in turn loading your sample. However, you do not want this happening all the time, especially when you leave your extractor for a while, come back, and see that your sample never loaded!
Continue reading Hydrophilic Solution for Your Vapor Lock Dilemma
Do you ever tire of using sodium sulfate to dry your extracts? I know I do. That is why, whenever I get the chance to avoid using it, I do. The worst experience when using sodium sulfate is when you do not use enough of it, and the sodium sulfate reaches its maximum capacity leading to water breakthrough into your ‘what was supposed to be a dried extract.’ Then, you must dry the extract again with more sodium sulfate. When you are a high throughput lab, redoing steps is not ideal. Unfortunately, EPA Methods 525.2 and 525.3 require sodium sulfate drying as the drying technique, to name a couple, but not all EPA methods require sodium sulfate for drying. That is why when there is an alternative technique available and you are permitted to use it, why not use it?!
Continue reading EPA Methods and the Use of Drying Techniques
“Oh my! This is crystal clear!” – said nobody who has ever read through an EPA Method.
For anyone who processes samples in an EPA-regulated laboratory, you know that these methods can be very specific in some spots, and incredibly vague in others. The complexity worsens if you’re following one method for sample cleanup and another method for sample preparation and data collection. Consult this handy infographic to make sure you’re following the right methods for sample cleanup, processing and analysis.
Continue reading To Be or Not to Be Water Miscible