Can SPE Columns be Reused?

Whether SPE columns can be reused depends on various factors, including the type of packing, sample properties, operating methods, and conditions. Here are some key points:

Packing type and sample properties:

Some packings (such as C18) may not be suitable for reuse because the loss of surface functional groups can affect their performance.
Adsorbents like activated carbon may have irreversible adsorption in some samples, affecting the adsorption of target substances.

Operating methods and conditions:

Proper eluents and washing methods can help reduce contamination of the packing material and extend the lifespan of the column.
Improper operating methods may damage the column, rendering it unusable for reuse.
Regeneration treatment:

Some SPE columns can be reused through regeneration treatment, but this requires the consumption of solvents, time, and labor. Whether regeneration is performed depends on the complexity of the sample matrix and whether the regenerated column meets analysis requirements.
For example, HAWACH’s HLB cartridges can be reused through repeated washing with methanol or acid-base washing, but C18 packing is not suitable for regeneration.

Recommendations:

For expensive SPE materials like HLB, reuse may be considered to save costs if regeneration is done properly.
If the sample matrix is complex or contains impurities that may interfere with analysis, regeneration procedures may need adjustments, such as increasing the volume of regeneration solvent or changing the solvent properties.
When considering the reuse of SPE columns, evaluate whether regeneration is worthwhile, considering costs and time. If regeneration costs are too high, purchasing new SPE columns may be more economical.
In conclusion, whether SPE columns can be reused needs to be assessed based on specific circumstances. Before deciding on reuse, consider the packing type, sample properties, operating methods, and the cost and time investment of regeneration treatment.