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Research Programs


ACCTA, Inc. participates in a variety of research activities, often in cooperation with our customers, independent laboratories, or other contract research organizations. Our expertise in analytical method development and problem-solving allows us to solve technical challenges more efficiently than other organizations who lack experience or a problem-solving attitude.

The programs described here have produced successful results, and we now offer related products and services. If you are interested in more details on any of these programs, or would like to discuss a new opportunity, please contact us.

Research Highlights

Publication: Investing to Save - A Simple Tool for Calculating ROI can Determine Which Investments are Best for Your Lab

Most laboratories are managed by people with technical backgrounds, but little business training. Often the finanical decision-makers in upper management have business training but little technical background. The result? These two groups don't speak the same language! When communicating their needs, laboratory managers need to learn to present their ideas in a format that the financial people will understand. In this article we summarize the concept of Return on Investment (ROI) as it applies to laboratory processes, and give two examples from HPLC laboratories. The article is published in the December, 2012 issue of Laboratory Manager: "Investing to Save - A simple tool for calculating ROI can determine which investments are best for your lab," Lab Manager, 2012, 7 (11), 18-21. View the digital version.

Analytical Method: Caffeine, Sorbate, and Benzoate in Beverages

We discovered this separation problem when visiting laboratories who needed method optimization services. Published methods were lengthy, with analysis times of 10 - 20 minutes, and required preparation of buffer solutions. We were able to develop an alternative method with a simpler mobile phase, better resolution, and an analysis time of less than four minutes! Click here for more information.

Publication: HPLC Column Selection

One of our strengths is finding the "sweet spot" of conditions for a particular method. The first step in a successful development is selecting the correct column. We recently published a article in LCGC magazine entitled: "A Global Approach to HPLC Column Selection Using Reversed-Phase and HILIC Modes: What To Try When C18 Doesn't Work," LGGC North America, Vol. 28 (3), 234-244. View the digital version.

Summary: Column selection in HPLC is often a random process of trying whatever phases are available. This article provides a global approach to characterizing phases based on several test probes and a particular mobile phase evaluation scheme. Retention is measured under both acidic and neutral conditions, over a range of acetonitrile concentrations. Different buffer concentrations can also be evaluated if the analyte has ionic properties. The test probes consisted of acids, bases, neutrals, and zwitterions, which were evaluated on three distinct phases: C18, Pentafluoropropyl (PFP), and Silica (in HILIC mode). The results are summarized by compound class. With this information, you can then make a better decision about which column and mobile phase are likely to produce good retention. For each of the compound classes studied, we were able to identify two column/mobile phase conditions that should be tried first. Recommendations for mobile phase starting conditions are also provided.

If you would like us to help you with your separation problems, please contact us.

Data Analysis Research: Integration of Chromatographic Peaks

Chromatographic integration is the process that generates analytical results from chromatography data. Yet despite the importance of this technique, there is no systematic information available on how to select from the various integration options (drop, valley, skim, etc.). Our research using PeakTrain software pointed us in the right direction. Following this initial effort, we created hundreds of actual chromatographic combinations by varying relative peak ratios and resolution. Analysis of the data allowed us to develop general rules for integration of poorly resolved peak pairs, and suggestions for dealing with more complex chromatograms. You can learn more about this research from either an on-site seminar or an on-line course.

A portion of this research was published in LCGC Magazine.

  • "Integration Errors in Chromatographic Analysis, Part I: Peaks of Approximately Equal Size," LCGC Magazine, 24,402 - 414 (April, 2006). To access the on-line version click here.
  • "Integration Errors in Chromatographic Analysis, Part II: Large Peak Size Ratios," LCGC Magazine, 24,604 - 616 (June, 2006). To access the on-line version click here.

Analytical Method: Creatine and Creatinine

We are often asked to develop analytical methods to support a particular project or program. When asked to find a method for creatine and creatinine, we were disappointed to see the quality of published methods - complicated mobile phases, slow equilibration, and long analysis times. Our method uses an easily prepared mobile phase (with no ion pairing agents), a commercially available column, and is complete in less than two minutes! You don't have to spend your time on method development. You can get the method from us, along with many other related support services. Click here for more information.

HPLC Stationary Phase Research: Perfluorophenyl (PFP) phases

These unique phases can exhibit both normal and reversed phase LC behavior, in the same separation, depending on the mobile phase and analytes. Our research is focused on understanding the mechanism of retention, particularly for more polar analytes, and those with a charge. We are exploring unique mobile phase systems that offers more flexibility for controlling retention, yet are simple to prepare. As we develop a better understanding of the underlying retention mechanisms, our list of applications will increase quickly. Contact us for more information, or to discuss your particular application.

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