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Techniques & Tools Gas Chromatography, Liquid Chromatography

What’s New in Chromatography?

Probing problematic pesticides. Broad-spectrum insecticides – called neonicotinoids (NEOs) – are rapidly replacing traditional organophosphorus and organochlorine-based insecticides. Some studies have already reported adverse effects of NEOs on mammalian health – but the relationship between NEO exposure and toxic effects on the human liver remains unclear. And that’s why researchers have recently attempted to examine the link by quantifying eight commercialized NEOs in human bile using ultra-performance liquid chromatography combined with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. The results indicate that neonicotinoids – particularly dinotefuran and nitenpyram – were not completely degraded in the liver and were found at high frequencies and concentrations in bile. According to the press release, these neonicotinoids are “likely to be reabsorbed by the intestine and enter the circulatory system, eventually accumulating in the liver and causing hepatotoxicity and enterohepatic circulation disruption.”

Sweat it out. Cystic fibrosis is caused by a defective cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. The absence of the CFTR protein in patient sweat glands leads to a notable side effect known as aquagenic palmoplantar keratoderma (AKP), which spurred researchers to analyze sweat from CF patients. Using LC-MS/MS, they discovered that 57 proteins were differentially expressed between the patients and controls. The CF sweat proteome was characterized by 25 upregulated and 32 downregulated proteins. According to the authors, the sweat proteome could eventually be used as the basis of a diagnostic tool for CF and potentially reveal treatment options for AKP.

Bare bones. The bone proteome (or osteo-ome, if you prefer) is a rich source of information for forensic studies. But forensic biomarkers based on the bone proteome are typically assessed using skeletal remains from human taphonomy facilities (body farms – yes, they exist), which use accelerated methods to clean the bones. UK-based researchers decided to investigate one such technique called maceration, which uses water and heat to de-flesh the bones. On comparing the proteomes (determined by LC-MS/MS) of untreated and macerated (three different protocols) bovine bones, the researchers revealed clear distinctions between proteomes, as well as lower protein abundances with increasing maceration time. The authors recommended the introduction of a standardized method to minimize protein degradation – and to avoid maceration completely where possible.

Also in the news…

Gas chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry analysis of Pliocene-era leaf waxes could help predict future climate conditions in Southwestern North America. Link

UHPLC combined with panel testing demonstrates that the perceived intensity of chilli sauces depends on what they are eaten with, as well as the capsaicinoid content. Link

Astrea Bioseparations acquires chromatography column manufacturer Delta Precision (both based in the UK). Link

Rapid LC-MS/MS method quantifies lenvatinib in dried blood spot samples – with promising preliminary clinical validation results. Link 

Solid-phase microextraction paired with GC-MS reveals 38 aroma compounds in crystal malt – which plays a crucial role in flavor and color of beer. Link

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About the Authors
Margot Lespade

Associate Editor, The Analytical Scientist

James Strachan

Over the course of my Biomedical Sciences degree it dawned on me that my goal of becoming a scientist didn’t quite mesh with my lack of affinity for lab work. Thinking on my decision to pursue biology rather than English at age 15 – despite an aptitude for the latter – I realized that science writing was a way to combine what I loved with what I was good at.

From there I set out to gather as much freelancing experience as I could, spending 2 years developing scientific content for International Innovation, before completing an MSc in Science Communication. After gaining invaluable experience in supporting the communications efforts of CERN and IN-PART, I joined Texere – where I am focused on producing consistently engaging, cutting-edge and innovative content for our specialist audiences around the world.


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