Ultrasonic Extraction: Automating Solid Material Sample Prep

The manual extraction of analytes from solid materials has long frustrated labs and lab techs. The process is time-consuming, tedious and costly.

Until recently, extraction methods were typically performed manually because automation of the extraction step as well as other clean up steps such as filtration, have not previously been available.

However, investigators at the Research Institute for Chromatography in Belgium recently developed an automated sample-prep method to extract glycosols and phenolic compounds from 86 samples of plant material for a metabolomics study. The investigators used a dual-head multipurpose sampler combined with ultrasonic extraction and a two-step filtration procedure that allowed for the final extract to be injected into a LC/MS

The results: of the 86 samples, 18 were quality control samples used to assess the reproducibility of the experimental protocol. Both targeted and untargeted analyses were performed, and results for both analyses were excellent. The targeted analysis results gave an area RSD of less than 14 percent for the low intensity peaks, well within the limit for metabolomics data, for which the cutoff is 30 percent. Moreover, the untargeted analysis found that 98 percent of all features had RSD values below 30 percent.

Learn more about this technique — including images of the samples before and after sonication, guidance on the specific filter used, and details on the result — in our application note titled,“Automated Ultrasonic Extraction of a Plant Material Using the Gerstel MPS Dual Head WorkStation.”

After reading the details, feel free to reach out to us for a deeper conversation about tactics for automating sample preparation in your own metabolomics studies.