How Do We Process SPE Cartridges?

Processing Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) cartridges involves several steps to prepare them for use in sample preparation and purification. Here’s a general overview of how to process SPE cartridges:

Materials You’ll Need:

SPE cartridges with appropriate sorbent (stationary phase) for your application.
Vacuum manifold or positive pressure manifold (depending on the method you prefer).
Appropriate solvent for conditioning and elution.
Samples to be processed.
Collection vials or plates.
Vacuum or positive pressure source.
Pipettes and pipette tips.

Steps to Process SPE Cartridges:


Select the appropriate SPE cartridge based on your sample and analyte properties.
Ensure that the cartridge is properly conditioned and equilibrated before use. This may involve washing or preconditioning the cartridge with a solvent recommended by the manufacturer.

Sample Loading:

Load your sample onto the SPE cartridge. Depending on your specific application, you may load the sample in liquid form or pass it through the cartridge via vacuum or positive pressure.

Sample Binding:

Allow the sample to interact with the sorbent in the cartridge. This step is critical for analyte retention on the stationary phase. You may need to control the flow rate or residence time to ensure efficient binding.


Rinse the cartridge with an appropriate solvent to remove interfering compounds and contaminants while retaining your target analytes. The volume and composition of the washing solvent will depend on your specific application.

Drying (Optional):

In some cases, it may be necessary to dry the cartridge before elution. This is typically done by applying a gentle flow of nitrogen or air to remove residual solvent.


Elute your target analytes from the cartridge using an elution solvent that is suitable for your application. The elution solvent should disrupt the binding interactions between the analytes and the stationary phase, allowing them to flow through the cartridge.


Direct the eluate into collection vials or plates for further analysis or processing. Ensure that the elution process is complete, and no analytes are left in the cartridge.

Clean-Up (Optional):

Depending on your application, you may need to perform additional clean-up steps, such as evaporation or concentration of the eluate, before analysis.

Dispose of Cartridges:

Dispose of the used SPE cartridges following proper laboratory waste disposal protocols.


Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific SPE cartridge and application.
Keep track of the elution volume and conditions to ensure reproducibility.
Maintain a clean and organized working area to prevent cross-contamination.
Verify the effectiveness of your SPE process through appropriate analytical techniques.
Solid Phase Extraction is a versatile technique used in a wide range of applications, including sample preparation for analytical methods like HPLC, GC, and mass spectrometry. The key to successful SPE is understanding your sample matrix, selecting the right cartridge and conditions, and following a systematic process to achieve the desired purification or concentration results.

Here are some options for how we process SPE cartridges:

1. Vacuum Manifold

Mostly we would process SPE cartridges by using an SPE vacuum manifold together with a vacuum source. So let’s talk about it more specifically here. First, we remove the O-rings from the threaded vacuum attachment stem and place the threaded vacuum attachment stem through the hole in the side of the glass block.

Then we place the black O-ring onto the stem and follow with the Teflon washer with its uneven side towards the O-ring and screw the valve body onto the stem, after which we tighten the body onto the stem and screw the vacuum gauge.

Last, we slide the bleed valve onto the valve body follow with the retaining nut, and tighten the nut. Following the completion of the vacuum gauge and valve assembly, the glass block is placed into the corresponding safety tray. The appropriate assembly polypropylene collection rack is then placed and we can install a liquid waste tray between the source and the glass block manifold.

2. Positive Pressure

This technique applies a proper syringe to work with the SPE cartridge connector in the right size. A positive pressure system could also be applied to process multiple cartridges immediately.

3. Vacuum Side-arm Flask

A vacuum side-arm flask, together with a water tap, makes full use of the Venturi effect. We could also apply the standard vacuum source.

You also can choose Reversed Phase C18 SPE Cartridges, Mixed Mode Octyl(C8)/SCX SPE Cartridge, SAX SPE Cartridges, Normal Phase PR Grade Florisil SPE Cartridges, and other SPE Cartridges.