Automation Without Robotics: Elimination of Sample Transfer Steps To Optimize Yield and Data Quality in the Laboratory
IntroductionChanging sample vessel format is an area of Discovery research that can cause problems: sample tracking, sample loss and robotic referencing are among the many drawbacks of having to perform a transfer step.
Genevac set out to attempt to “automate” the transfer step within their evaporation systems and developed several concept designs. The final iteration of this is now launched as the SampleGenie™ system, shown in figure 1.SampleGenie comprises a specially designed large volume glass flask that securely seals to a small storage vial, dramatically increasing its capacity. This allows a purified or other large volume sample to be evaporated directly into the small vial. The whole assembly is loaded into the Genevac HT or EZ-2 evaporation system and using a pre-written method evaporated to dryness. SampleGenie guides the compound into the storage vial directly, thusavoiding the costly transfer step that has traditionally been the cause of problems, and reduces the overall processtime by between 0.5 to 1 day in the typical laboratory. If an amorphous anhydrous powder is required at the end of this step then an HT series evaporator with LyoSpeed™ can be used to concentrate the large volume into the vial, and then Lyophilise the remaining volume to leave a powder in the vial. A concentration only version is also available for users requiring a wet sample.
Figure 1 – SampleGenie
Selection of systems shown with arrangement sketch below.
Dark blue – flask
Light blue – vial
Medicinal ChemistryTransfer to the storage vial has traditionally been a wasteful process, hitherto this has either been done by scraping the dried compound into the storage vial or going through a process of resolublising and transferusing a liquid handling workstation, and then a further evaporation step. Both of these are time consuming and have potentially bad yields. Central to both of these approaches has been the Genevac HT and EZ-2 parallel evaporation systems, using precise control these systems dry the compounds well but have not aided in their transfer to the desired storage vial.
Recovery from Water
Recovery from acetonitrile
Figure 2 – Green food dye in water before concentration (shown left), and then concentrated into the vial (shown right)
ConclusionsIn both sets of conditions tested, the SampleGenie system managed to achieve a step yield of 92-93%,this compares very favourably with the anticipated yield from either manual transfer or resolublisation and liquid handling. In addition to the excellent recoveries, another major advantage to using SampleGeniewas the significant reduction in processing time. Although there is no XYZ coordinate programming involved,SampleGenie is liquid handling Automation!
About the Authors
Ian Whitehall is Sales Director for SP Industries, based at Genevac in Ipswich. Ian is recognised worldwide as anindustry expert in laboratory automation.
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