Yesterday was the second of two days of the mini-symposium “From question to reliable answer, from problem to solution – On current aspects of analytical chemistry”.
The first presentation was held by Eskil Sahlin, researcher at the Research Institute of Sweden, RISE, in Borås. He spoke about how to keep a good quality in your measurements.
– If you do this in a good way you will be able to identify problems quicker. You will also satisfy the regulatory agencies, and your customers will be relaxed, he said.
The next speaker was Anneli Kruve, associate professor at Stockholm University, with her talk “Quantitation in non-targeted LC-MS”.
Among other things, she spoke about her groups’ work with analyzing the concentration of pollutants in surface water. They have developed an algorithm that can predict the values of a number of pollutants and make a priority score for each one based on their predicted concentration and toxicity value.
Quality in doping control
Next up was a tandem presentation held by Mikael Hedeland, professor at the at Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Uppsala University, and Anton Pohanka, Head of the Pharmacology Laboratory at Karolinska University Hospital. They spoke about quality assurance in doping control of professional athletes.
They said that each sample is split into an A-sample and a B-sample. The B-sample is stored immediately, to be used later if the results of a suspected sample need to be verified, while the A-sample is analyzed for traces of doping substances.
– The first thing we do is a screening analysis which is used to sort out suspect samples, said Mikael Hedeland and added that if there are no apparent findings, the client is notified immediately.
– But if we do suspect a sample, we make a confirmatory analysis before we report our findings.
He continued to speak about the different measures that are taken to ensure that the confirmatory analysis gives rise to robust, qualitative data – such as the use of several control samples, a controlled workflow, and well-defined criteria.
Anton Pohanka pointed out that WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, has lots of standards for analysis of doping samples.
– We are controlled by many standards and methods. Our work is prohibited all the time.
What can go wrong?
In the next presentation “Challenges and pit-falls in analyte identification”, Ingrid Ericson Jogsten, senior lacturer at Örebro University, and Jerker Fick, researcher at Umeå University, talked about different challenges in the analysis of different samples.
As an example, Jerker Fick brought up an article (Schlüsener et al. 2005) that found very high concentrations of the drug 17 α-Ethinylestradiol (a contraceptive) in water. The article was, and still is, cited often, even though the group behind it realized that the methods that they used had given wrongful results and later published an errata list.
– My conclusion is that you should publish as much as possible. As long as you present what you have done, there is no fraud involved. Also, if something looks to good to be true, it might be. Do the math to see if your results are even possible, try using another method and do it in another lab if you can. Use lots of controls and references.
New journal on sample preparation
The last presentation of the day was held by Elia Psillakis from the Technical University of Crete. She spoke about the work at the EuChemS-DAC sample preparation study group and network. She announced the launch of a brand-new journal that the group will be responsible for, called Advances in Sample Preparation. The first issue will be launched on 15 June.
Elia Psillakis also had a point to make in the following panel discussion “The future of analytical chemistry”:
– One of the most important problems is that we educate students in analytical chemistry but it is difficult for them to see why they should stay in the field and not do a PhD in e.g. atmospheric science or pharma instead. We must be better at communicating that if you study analytical chemistry, you can work with all other fields.
To read about day 1 of the mini-symposium, click here: Analytical chemistry – now and in the future – Svenska Kemisamfundet
One of the speakers on day 1 was Conny Haraldsson from Research Institute of Sweden, RISE. He spoke about the organization’s new laboratory for carbon 14-determination, where IR spectroscopy will be the core technology. The instrument will be used to distinguish the origin of different fuels, plastics, chemicals etc, to see if they are made from the same amount of renewable material as they claim, and not from fossil material. Read more: Cutting edge IR spectroscopy to find fossil cheaters – Svenska Kemisamfundet