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Sample Preparation for MS
Liquid extraction of analytes on surfaces

MS Sample Preparation System: Sampler and SepQuant dropletProbe

  patented laser sensor-to-surface technology

  highest extraction efficiency

  automated processes

           as complete sample preparation system
            or retrofittable in CTC PAL samplers

The SepQuant® dropletProbe™
allows the liquid surface extraction of analytes and separation via HPLC prior to mass spectrometry analysis. A highly stable liquid micro-junction sampling technology thanks to its patented laser.


The patented laser sensor-to-surface technology allows the precise and automatic positioning of the liquid interface. Sample height variability is no longer a limitation
and the automated calibration ensures trouble-free operation.

In the “droplet process”, a liquid junction is formed between needle and surface after precise and automatic positioning of the injection needle above a pre-defined point on the surface. The analytes are dissolved in extraction solvent which is then retracted into the needle. A sample loop is filled for injection in the subsequent HPLC-MS /
MS analysis.

In pharmaceutical research, knowledge of the distribution of a medicinal substance and its metabolites on surface areas is of decisive importance. 
In the field of pharmacognostic research, efforts to identify new molecules have led to the development of numerous new therapeutic procedures in recent years. Research into naturally occurring substances still presents many challenges however, particularly with regard to the priority given to compounds to be investigated and the complex ecological and biological evaluation of these within their natural organisms.

Available as complete sample preparation system for MS (Sampler + SepQuant dropletProbe) or retrofittable to existing CTC PAL samplers.

Performance characteristics

  • Patented laser sensor-to-surface technology
  • Adjustable needle to surface distance (typically 100-300 µm)
  • Liquid junction droplets from 0.5 to 5 µL
  • Spatial resolution as low as 1 mm
  • Oversampling available: e.g. to avoid interference signals
  • The dripTrobe™ application software, integrated in CTC PAL systems, provides a reliable automation platform. Ease integration into HPLC systems and mass spectrometers is possible
  • The dedicated Lightbox™ calibration station is fully controlled by the on-board software and offers precise positioning of the sample surface

Öffnet einen internen Link im aktuellen FensterData sheet SepQuant dropletProbe

Surface sampling process

Schematic of the surface sampling process of SepQuant dropletProbe

The surface sampling technique for in-line HPLC-MS / MS analysis is structured as follows:

Please click image to enlarge

The sample to be analysed is applied to a suitable sample carrier

a)  The distance between the needle and the surface is determined
b)  The injection needle is positioned precisely and automatically in a range of
     100-300 µm above the defined point on the surface
c)   A special amount of extraction solvent is applied to this point, creating a
      liquid junction between needle and surface
d)  The analyte is dissolved in the extraction solvent
e)  After a predefined extraction time, the liquid is retracted into the needle
f)   loaded into the sample loop followed by
g)  injection for a consecutive HPLC-MS/MS analysis

Steps c-g may be repeated to improve extraction efficiency.

Chromatograms Annonacin

In situ Spatial Characterization of Bioactive Secondary Metabolites of Asimini triloba
by the SepQuant® dropletProbeTM

Chromatograms of Annonaceous acetogenins were prepared from the fruits (seed and pulp), twigs, leaves, and flowers (petal and ovary) of A. triloba. The in situ analysis of all of these organs by the SepQuant dropletProbe coupled to a UPLC-HRMS/MS system enabled the rapid identification of acetogenins from complex mixtures through their characteristic MS/MS spectra.

Locations of paw paw where the dropletProbe directly sampled seed
       (black), pulp (red), and twig (green) and the portions that were
       cross-sectioned: ovary (blue), leaf (yellow green), and petal (purple).

(B) The mass defect filtered chromatograms around annonacin;
       603.4807 +/- 100 Da with a mass defect of +/- 25 mDa.

Chromatograms Annonaceous Acetogenine in Asimini triloba (paw paw)


  (A) Easily select samples in software to
  (B) generate heatmaps of analytes of interest
  (C) Zoomed in view of "droplet" taken with instrument camera
         for built-in quality control


Software enables:

  • Acquisition of optical image of surface for point-and-click selection of locations to be sampled
  • Heatmap generation
  • Data analysis
  • Report keeping

     No hardware modification on existing PAL System required for basic operation
     Sampling time < 1 min
     Use of a cooled stack or an open tray
     Method can be integrated into existing LC/MS workflow
     Manual XYZ-axis control for complex samples (e.g. fungi)
     Optional laser displacement sensor for unattended analysis of samples and
      sample locations of
 dramatically disparate height


For example:

-  Drugs and metabolites
-  Antibody–drug conjugate catabolites (highly effective biopharmaceutical 
   medicines for the treatment of cancer patients)
-  Macromolecules (proteins and oligo- nucleotides) from thin tissue sections
-  Drugs from tissue biopsy
-  Metabolites from fungal cultures
-  Small molecules from plant tissues (capsaicin from peppers, caffeine from
   coffee beans)

Öffnet einen internen Link im aktuellen FensterAN-37 SepQuant dropletProbe HPLC-MS

Öffnet einen internen Link im aktuellen FensterAN-46 Combining MALDI Imaging and SepQuant dropletProbe

Öffnet einen internen Link im aktuellen FensterAN-53 Analyze the free Amino Acid Content of various Cheeses


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Joachim Paschlau

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