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Waters discuss ion mobility mass-spectrometry and how this benefits E&L testing

Ahead of Extractables & Leachables USA 2016 this May, we sat down with Baiba Cabovska, Senior Application Chemist at Waters to discuss their novel approach to screening extractables & leachables components, why it will help E&L testing in the future, what she's most looking forward to about the conference and much more.

1. Your presentation covers a novel approach to screening extractable and leachable components from packaging material, could you give us a brief insight into what this novel approach might be?

The presentation for E&L 2016  event in Bethesda, will cover the application of ion mobility to extractables and leachables testing. Typically, in identification of compounds, retention time, accurate mass, and fragmentation ion information is used. However, if there is variability in chromatography between different labs or instruments, the retention times become a less reliable point of identification. In trace analysis, the concentration of the parent ion might be too low to produce characteristic fragments for confident identification. Insufficient identification will lead to false positives or false negatives in screening.

2. How will this novel approach help with E&L testing in the future?

The first step in E&L analysis usually is targeted screening; trying to match the retention times and observed ions or spectra to a library or a target list with previously seen compounds. Collisional cross section (CCS) provides an additional identification point which reduces a number of false positives in routine targeted screening. 

3. For delegates that are unsure of what the ion mobility-mass spectrometry does, would you be able to offer a brief overview?

Ion mobility is a process which separates ions as they tumble through a gas under the influence of an electric field. Their progress is related to their average rotational cross section, or CCS. Ion mobility technology enables the measurement of collisional cross section (CCS) because it is related to the drift time of the ions through the device. The CCS is a physiochemical property of the ion and depends on the ion’s size, shape and charge. For example, in the case of two ions with the same m/z but different shapes, the less compact, straight-chain species will have a longer drift time than the smaller, more compact species enabling them to be separated and the CCS values determined.

4. Who are you most looking forward to hearing present at the E&L USA conference in May this year and why?

I am looking forward to hear the updates from the regulatory agencies and working groups. It is always useful to learn what are the latest changes in the guidelines. Another topic which is new this year-  E-cigarettes. I am interested to learn about the approaches to the testing of these articles.  

Baiba will cover this subject in more detail during her talk on 'Ion Mobility-Mass-Spectometry: A novel approach to screening for extractable & leachable components from packaging material' on conference day two, alongside expert representatives from Thermo Fisher Scientific, Agilent Technologies and Pfizer.

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