Its innovative new system intends to simplify LC/MS, heightens separation power and sensitivity, and reduces required sample sizes by integrating multiple functionalities on a single microfluidics-based chip.
Many biomedical researchers employ proteomics, the systematic analysis of protein expression, structure and function, to study the underlying causes of diseases such as cancer. Traditional techniques used to prepare protein samples for MS analysis, such as nanoflow LC, require complex arrangements of equipment in order to improve separation power, and consume relatively large quantities of sample.
"The compact footprint of the Agilent microfluidic-LC/MS system, combined with its sensitivity, modularity and ease of operation, provides significant advantages for the analysis of complex protein digests and represents a leading-edge technology in proteomics discovery programs," said Professor Pierre Thibault of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer at the University of Montreal.
The HPLC-Chip/MS System incorporates a separate HPLC Chip, which offers greater peptide coverage and higher protein identification compared with nanoflow LC/MS. Smaller than a credit card, the HPLC-Chip (G4240A) integrates sample enrichment and separation capability of a nanoflow LC system with the intricate connections and spray tips used in electrospray mass spectrometry.
The technology eliminates 50 per cent of the fittings and connections typically required in an LC/MS system, reducing the possibility of leaks and dead volumes, significantly simplifying workflow, and increasing sensitivity and reliability during analysis.
To enable compliance and experiment management, the HPLC-Chip includes a radio frequency tag that contains information such as chip ID and type, documentation, diagnostic and operational data, and additional memory for user comments.
The second component of the HPLC-Chip/MS system is the HPLC-Chip/MS Cube interface, which is mounted on Agilent's Nanoflow Proteomics Solution XCT+ Ion Trap mass spectrometer. In addition to positioning the sprayer tip orthogonal to the MS inlet to achieve maximum sensitivity and robustness, the HPLC-Chip Cube MS interface automatically loads and seals the chip, establishing high-pressure, leak-tight fluid connections.
"The HPLC-Chip helps meet the ever-increasing productivity demands of our customers," said Georges Gauthier, HPLC-Chip technology product manager at Agilent.
"The Chip is available for proteomics applications, but the technology has potential uses across a wide range of other applications in which LC/MS is used, including pharmaceutical development and manufacturing."