ASMS 2015 Emphasizes Applied Markets

The American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) held its 63rd annual conference from May 31 to June 4 at the downtown convention center in St. Louis, Missouri. Attendance totaled 6,101, falling 8.9% from last year (see IBO 6/30/14).

MS companies at the conference focused on total-package solutions for research needs, unlike in previous years, when they focused more on the instruments themselves. The push to harmonize the methodology and results of different researchers, particularly in the –omics fields, was a theme throughout the conference and was discussed in a talk by M. Arthur Mosely, PhD, associate research professor at Duke University and director of Duke’s Proteomics Core Facility. As reflected in vendor presentations, the emphasis on –omics harmoni-zation will also eventually benefit clinical and applied markets.

Thermo Fisher Scientific debuted two instruments in its Orbitrap series at the conference. The Orbitrap Lumos is the premium system in the Orbitrap line and is targeted to the –omics boom. It features complete protein sequence coverage and is designed for a range of biopharmaceutical applications as well as for performance enhancing–drug detection during sporting events. The system features ultralow level detection, the brightest ion source in the Orbitrap line, a segmented quadrupole mass filter, an advanced vacuum for transmission of ions into the Orbitrap and overall improvements to the dynamic range.

Thermo Scientific’s Q Exactive hybrid GC/HRAM Orbitrap MS system is the first instrument to combine GC and high-resolution accurate-mass Orbitrap MS. It is designed to comprehensively characterize all samples in a single analysis in order to speed the process of compound discovery and quantitation. The GC and Orbitrap combination is designed specifically to enhance lab productivity by combining targeted and nontargeted detection and identification for a range of applications. The system utilizes the TRACE 1300 series GC module, which allows interchangeable injectors and detectors, making the instrument well suited for untargeted profiling experiments.

Thermo also redesigned its Xcalibur software platform in order to merge acquisition and analysis of MS data into one platform. The new application-based software suite is intuitive and features an application store, similar to those utilized by smart devices. Xcalibur is linked to the Thermo Fisher Cloud, and has customizable view settings and automatic software updating, allowing for a streamlined workflow for MS data uptake and analysis.

Bruker’s MALDI PharmaPulse combines the autoFlex speed MALDI TOF MS system and an integrated auto-mation solution from HighRes Biosolutions, including a robotic arm, to provide a high-throughput, MS-based screening solution that reduces cost per sample. The system is targeted to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector for drug discovery and development, and features a 2 kHz laser.

Shipping in the second half of this year, the Vion system from Waters combines ion mobility separation (IMS) with Q-TOF MS in an easy-to-use system for high-sensitivity measurements. The instrument is designed to fully characterize samples by providing collision cross-section values for every ion in every analysis. The TOF section of the instrument, the QuanTOF 2, provides increased dynamic range, allowing IMS to be used in rou-tine analysis as well as for more powerful applications, such as characterizing new –omes.

Another product by Waters, the REIMS/iKnife, allows for direct-from-sample ionization and analysis with TOF MS. It is targeted to the clinical market but has application potential in areas such as the food industry, and microbiology and tissue research. The iKnife serves as a front-end for the TOF MS system, directly evaporating sample at the source, eliminating the need for sample preparation and chromatographic separation. The iKnife is a handheld unit, which, through interfacing with the Progenesis QI software suite, allows for quick MS sample identification. The system is functional on the Xevo and Synapt TOF MS systems. Currently, the REIMS Research System is for research laboratories only, but Waters is positioning it toward future use in the clinical space.

The BioBA solution from SCIEX is an end-to-end solution, featuring sample preparation kits for biologics quantification; the Biomek liquid handler from Beckman Coulter; the ExionLC for expandability and low car-ryover; the QTRAP 6500 MS; the SelexION device,for complex analysis selectivity; and a set of iMethod appli-cations software. The entire package is meant to optimize workflows, reduce costs and save time in developing biologics.

The Lipidyzer platform, developed in a partnership between SCIEX and Metabolon, is a quantification method for lipidomics that includes sample preparation kits, separation and MS instruments, software, and data analy-sis services to provide a comprehensive workflow. The platform includes Metabolon’s interpretive and visual-ization software as well as SCIEX’s hardware expertise.

The 6470 Triple Quadrupole LC/MS from Agilent Technologies is the company’s latest high-performance LC/MS system designed for reliability and stability, as well as reducing lab footprint. The instrument features several key technology improvements, namely the Jet Stream ESI unit, which provides five times the sensitivity of typical ESI, and new ion optics, detectors and a new collision cell. The 6470 can be upgraded to the 6495, which has a stronger performing ion funnel (the iFunnel), providing a higher level of sensitivity. Both systems are targeted to environmental, and food and agriculture analysis.

Another instrument debuted by Agilent, the 7800 ICP-MS, is a high-throughput system for metals analysis that is meant to reduce sample preparation, minimize ion suppression, and rapidly analyze major and trace analytes. The 7800 unit features an optional Integrated Sample Introduction System (ISIS 3) designed to reduce cost per analysis. It features the ability to analyze samples containing up to 3% total dissolved solids without dilution, which simplifies sample preparation. The unit is run with the new ICP-MS MassHunter software that includes SOPs for common applications, including water and environmental analysis, elemental impurities and pharmaceutical products.

Shimadzu’s LCMS-8060 is a triple quadrupole LC/MS/MS system targeted to routine analysis that requires the sensitivity of triple quadrupole MS instrumentation, as well as trace detection and quantitation applications. Sensitivity is improved through the UFQarray, which boasts an upgraded ion sampling device and guide that simultaneously improve ion production without compromising the levels of noise in the spectra. The LCMS-8060 is capable of switching polarities in 5 msec with a scan speed of 30,000 µm/sec, one of the fastest triple quadrupole LC/MS/MS scanning speeds currently available on the market. The system builds upon strong speed and sensitivity specifications with the ability to provide a dual qualitative/quantitative mode, Synchronized Survey Scan, which supports up to 1,000 individual events in a single run.

The 2016 ASMS conference will be held June 5–9 in San Antonio, Texas.

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