Thermo Scientific expands reach of Orbitrap-based mass spectrometer

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Thermo Scientific's Q Exactive Focus LC-MS/MS
Thermo Scientific's Q Exactive Focus LC-MS/MS

Related tags Mass spectrometry

Food and environmental testing labs can now benefit from a high-resolution accurate-mass (HRAM) analysis mass spectrometer, according to Thermo Scientific.

The Q Exactive Focus LC-MS/MS makes the qualitative and quantitative power of Orbitrap-based instruments available to those using quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometry or other technologies.

The instrument is suitable for cost-per-sample-sensitive and time-to-result workflows with high throughputs.  

Thermo Scientific said the accuracy, resolution and resulting cost had previously made the instrument reserved to high level life science research.

Tech now accessible

Stu Matlow, public relations manager, chromatography and mass spectrometry, told that the technology had been around long enough to get manufacturing costs down.

“Orbitrap had been too expensive and out of reach for what we call routine applications such as food testing and environmental analysis where labs are working on a cost per sample basis,” ​he said.

“For example, if you are testing spinach for 15 pesticide residues and 100’s of samples per week, you test to a certain level and keep the cost per sample low​.”

The Q Exactive Focus benchtop LC-MS/MS combines quadrupole precursor ion selection with an HRAM Orbitrap mass analyzer, providing mass accuracy, sensitivity and polarity switching.

This has been shown to quantify and confirm analytes with comparable sensitivity to triple quadrupole instruments, said the firm.

Regulations and capability

Matlow said it ’future-proofed’ labs currently testing samples to certain level.

“Regulations have a way of changing so while you may be able to meet demands now, next year or three years the same pesticide may need to be detected at 20 parts per trillion (PPT) and the instrument can handle that,” ​he said.

“If you are an independent lab doing food and environmental testing for heavy metals, it gives a new business opportunity to test sea water for dioxins for example, providing a new analysis for customers without losing focus on core business.”

Q Exactive Focus is designed to deliver up to 70,000 resolution at m/z 200, and scan speed up to 12 Hz.

Sub ppm mass accuracy has been achieved in company and early access user laboratories, claims the firm.

It is designed for quantitation experiments, with capabilities that include selected ion monitoring (SIM), parallel reaction monitoring (PRM), and data-independent acquisition (DIA).

Full scan confirmation mode and parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) are designed for targeted screening combined with reproducible quantitation results.

Data-independent acquisition (DIA) provides qualitative coverage for screening unknowns with supporting quantitative data for many of the unknowns identified.

“Many of our customers at applied and small scale research labs have been telling us they want the combined screening and quantitation capabilities of hybrid mass spectrometry in their labs, where cost per sample and time-to-results really matter​,” said Ken Miller, vice president, marketing, life sciences mass spectrometry for Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Related topics Food safety & quality

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