Choosing a method and developing a protocol for small molecule LC-MSMS sample preparation can be a complex process. An effective shortcut is to use an extraction plate built for automation. With fewer processing steps and an automation-ready format, the use of extraction plate technology can help make tedious LC-MS sample prep processes more routine, whether it’s the analysis of testosterone in serum or anti-depressants in whole blood.
In the previous article in this series it became clear that high productivity in small molecule LC-MSMS relies on effective sample prep that supports reproducible results and minimizes downtime for sensitive LC and MS equipment. The ideal sample prep protocol should be simple, cost-effective, and enable matrix depletion with the option to concentrate analytes independent of matrix components. The questions are, which method should you choose and how should you go about optimizing it? Let’s start by looking at the range of methods currently available.
Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS) adds a lot of analytical power when you need to quantify small molecules in body fluids, but a simple approach of ‘dilute and shoot’ is not going to be enough to ensure robust analysis. Sample prep methods can well be the single biggest time consumer you are facing, which means that a wise choice of sample prep method is a great opportunity for improving lab productivity.