We talk to Rob Field about why he chose Advion’s Expression compact mass spectrometer for his lab
Few laboratories analyse one type of sample or use just one analytical technique all day, every day. Many researchers are found roaming the lab or even further afield to conduct different analyses on multiple samples. Having access to a versatile mass spectrometer that doesn’t take up too much space can make life in the lab easier and simpler. Rob Field, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, purchased Advion’s Expression compact mass spectrometer (CMS) to improve his team’s performance. In this interview we ask him more about his research and his workflows.
What is the focus of your lab’s research?
Our research is focused on developing and exploiting chemical tools and principles to address questions in plant and microbial carbohydrate biochemistry. Projects typically involve some combination of chemical and enzymatic synthesis, inhibitor design and assessment, biochemistry, structural biology and omics analyses.
What was your previous workflow and what challenges did you face?
We synthesise a lot of different molecules in the lab, many of which have relatively low molecular weights. To acquire low resolution MS spectra of purified compounds we relied on MALDI-TOF or on direct injection into an expensive LC-MS system (ESI). Access to these instruments required booking in advance and there was also often a delay in obtaining results.
Why did you incorporate the Expression CMS into your laboratory?
We wanted an instrument that would allow rapid access to low resolution MS data for low molecular weight compounds. Immediate access to this instrument allows rapid confirmation of product formation in chemical and enzymatic syntheses; the Expression CMS is particularly useful for rapid identification of analytes from LC separations. All of this can be done by direct injection, but in our lab the injection from a TLC silica plate using the Advion Plate Express is being increasingly used as a faster alternative. The APCI ion source is another great capability of the CMS, particularly for analysis of lipophilic compounds such as triterpenes, which we have experienced difficulties in analysing by other ionisation techniques.
Who would you recommend to purchase the Expression CMS?
Any group working with organic molecules that requires fast access to low resolution MS spectra. We would especially recommend coupling the expression CMS with the Advion Plate Express for labs that routinely use TLC for monitoring chemical syntheses and biotransformations.
What others have to say about the Advion Expression CMS…
‘The purchase of the first Advion Expression CMS to be installed in Australia in our research laboratory will improve the quality of the decision making process of my PG students leading to more efficient research outcomes and provide a mass spectral service to disciplines in our college at RMIT University.’
Helmut Hugel, RMIT University, Australia
‘Our laboratory has recently purchased an Advion Expression CMS. Our choice was not only related to the small footprint but also to the versatility of the system. The Advion expression CMS provides the quality of results necessary to improve research outcomes in our hit and lead discovery efforts.’
Tiago Rodrigues, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Founded in 1993, Advion is a leader in mass spectrometry and synthesis solutions. The expression CMS is a high performance, compact, affordable single quadrupole mass spectrometer. Its compact size allows it to fit in space-limited labs for direct access and immediate results for chemists requiring mass confirmation, reaction monitoring, quality control and purity analysis. Advion technology has been cited in hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and presented at leading scientific conferences.
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