Sample handling: a rational approach

Abstract The rationale for sample handling including the choice of the various sample preparation techniques with respect to their sensitivity and selectivity will be discussed.

Looking in a complex matrix for traces in the ng/mL to pg/mL range is just like looking for a needle in haystack. Since the samples are usually complex and ‘dirty’, isolation and quantitation of organic compounds – especially those present at low concentrations- in real life matrix is an analytical challenge. In order to achieve reliable chromatographic / electrophoretic data, relatively ‘pure’ samples must be analyzed, and therefore, ST/SP is an essential part of the separation procedure. The objectives of the method will indicate how much effort should be put into a ST/SP scheme. Some of the factors to consider are the concentration of the analyte, the matrix involved and the specificity required.


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