The Advantage and Steps of SPE

Compared to the classic liquid extraction, SPE has its own obvious advantages. To be more specific, it could reduce solvent consumption and sample cost. SPE is also time-saving which has the potential for automation. Moreover, the consistency is high for specific sample handling. Due to the wide-ranged adsorbents which have different adsorption mechanisms. In order to optimize the extraction, solid phase and chromatographic condition could be changed and adjusted.

Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) is a widely used technique in analytical chemistry for the purification, concentration, and extraction of target compounds from complex sample matrices. Here are the advantages and steps of SPE:

Advantages of SPE:

  1. Selective Extraction: SPE allows for the selective extraction of target compounds based on their chemical properties, such as polarity, charge, or size.
  2. Matrix Removal: It effectively removes interfering compounds (e.g., salts, proteins, lipids) from the sample, which can improve the sensitivity and accuracy of subsequent analytical techniques.
  3. Concentration: SPE concentrates the target analytes, increasing their detectability in the final analysis.
  4. Versatility: SPE can be applied to a wide range of sample types, including environmental samples, biological fluids, pharmaceuticals, and food samples.
  5. Reduced Solvent Usage: Compared to traditional liquid-liquid extraction, SPE often requires less solvent, making it a more environmentally friendly technique.
  6. Automation: SPE can be easily automated, which increases throughput and reduces the potential for human error.
  7. Reproducibility: When performed correctly, SPE provides high levels of reproducibility and precision.
  8. Compatibility with Various Analytical Techniques: The purified samples obtained through SPE can be analyzed using various analytical techniques like HPLC, GC, mass spectrometry, etc.

The involved steps in the complete SPE procedure. As a matter of fact, the steps shown below could be omitted in many applications so that it could be described as the general example and the procedure could also be simplified. In order to visualize the separation, the presenting procedure uses the samples with dye.

Steps of SPE:

  1. Conditioning:
    • The SPE cartridge or bed is first conditioned by passing a solvent (often the same as the sample matrix) through it. This prepares the sorbent for proper interaction with the sample.
  2. Sample Loading:
    • The sample, often in a liquid form, is loaded onto the SPE bed. The target analytes are retained on the sorbent, while unwanted matrix components pass through.
  3. Washing:
    • Weakly retained impurities are removed by washing the SPE bed with a solvent that is typically more polar than the one used for sample loading.
  4. Elution:
    • The target compounds are then eluted from the sorbent using an elution solvent that is selective for the analytes of interest. This eluate contains the purified and concentrated analytes.
  5. Evaporation (Optional):
    • In some cases, the eluate may need to be evaporated to remove the solvent and concentrate the analytes further.
  6. Reconstitution (if necessary):
    • If the eluate needs to be further processed or analyzed, it may be reconstituted in a suitable solvent.
  7. Analysis:
    • The purified and concentrated sample is then ready for analysis using the desired analytical technique.

Remember that the choice of sorbent, solvent, and specific SPE protocol will depend on the nature of the sample and the target analytes. Proper optimization is crucial for achieving optimal results.

Actually, most of the samples contain colorless components, which could only be found in the collecting fractions by some detectors and tests. The information below should be as considered as guiding principles when developing your own process or revising the process published in the literature, which specifically contains the sample preprocessing, adjustment of the cartridge, sample loading, and fraction delusion.

C18A RP SPE Cartridges
C8 SCX SPE Columns