Issue #3/2015Ya.Yashin, A.Yashin SCIENTOMETRICS OF MATERIALS AT PITTCON 2015: NEW METHODS, SORBENTS, DEVICES, APPLICATIONS
Pittsburg Annual Conferences on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy are the most numerous and representative in the world in number of participants, submitted papers and companies-manufacturers of equipment. From 15 000 to 30 000 experts participated in the conferences in various years, the number of scientific papers ranged from 2000 to 3000, more than 100 short-term courses and more than 1000 companies-participants of the exhibition. Experts of all developed countries attend the conference every year. Materials of the Forum provide comprehensive data for the scientometrics. Essentially, it is the "slice" of the modern level of development of Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, since all existing methods of analysis and their applications from around the world are represented in the conference.
14 200 professionals from 90 countries attended Pittcon 2015 (66th), more than 2000 papers were presented, 150 short courses were held and the large exhibition of analytical instruments (about 1000 companies).
First of all, we present data on the methods of analysis (figures shown are the number of papers):
chromatography (including gas chromatography – mass-spectrometry (in parentheses)) – 431 (234);
spectroscopy (all methods) – 221;
mass-spectrometry (without chromatography) – 129;
electrochemistry – 127;
sensors (all types) – 126;
capillary electrophoresis – 46;
chemical analysis – 28;
microscopy – 20;
thermal analysis – 18.
These data show that the chromatography is leading by a large margin. Statistically 40–50% of all analyzes are performed by using chromatographic methods, and in some areas, particularly in the petrochemical industry, up to 70%.
High-performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) (127 papers), ultra-HPLC (16), HPLC-mass-spectrometry (MS) and HPLC-MS/MS (234), hydrophilic (28), ionic (15), chiral (13) are more frequently used of all methods of chromatography. In the last years the interest in supercritical fluid chromatography (16) has been growing. The attention grows to the combination of HPLC-GC (9); in some cases HPLC is used as a perfect sample preparation. Only some submitted papers were related with exclusion, affinity, thin-layer, counter-current, preparative chromatography represented.
120 papers were related with gas chromatography, including 93 papers – GC-MS and GC-MS/MS. There is an interest in the tandem GC-GC (9) and in the pyrolysis GC-MS.
Spectroscopic and close to them methods were widely represented: Raman – 40, infrared (short and middle areas) – 45, fluorescence – 31, ultraviolet and visual range – 16, inductively coupled plasma – 12, atomic-absorbing – 26, NMR – 8, ion mobility – 10, and X-ray spectroscopy – 10.
New sensors were proposed: electrochemical, chemical biosensors (59).
Interesting data were obtained for different application areas. Scientific sessions were presented at the conference for each of them:
pharmaceutics – 168;
food products analysis – 157;
biochemistry and biomedicine – 139;
environmental pollution control – 130;
forensic medicine – 43;
analysis of fuels and oil products – 30;
industrial analyzes – 17;
analysis of surfaces and films – 17;
analysis of polymers and plastics – 12;
power engineering – 8;
cosmetics – 8.
These data indicate unquestionably the leading areas of application in biochemistry, medicine, food, ecology, pharmaceutics, i.e. in the most vital areas.
Nanotechnology, nanomaterials (67 papers) should be allocated of new directions, there is a big increase here compared to the Pittcon 2014. Great attention was paid to proteomics, metabolomics and others (38 papers). Microfluidic systems (87 papers) continue to cause interest. Nanoparticles of gold, carbon, diamond (dozens of papers) are widely used in the nanotechnology. The great interest in graphene, graphene oxide, carbon tubes exists in electrochemistry. No doubt that the forefronts of biochemistry are proteomics, glycomics, epigenomics and metabolomics.
Many papers were dedicated to sample preparation (52). Among the methods of concentration the following were presented: micro-solid phase – 14 papers, headspace analysis – 10 papers, solid phase extraction – 7 papers, kvetchers – 9 papers; the number of works using dried blood spots and saliva is growing. Biological compounds predominate among analyzed and investigated compounds: proteins, peptides, DNA, RNA, catecholamines, sugars, serotonin, steroids, vitamins, polyphenols, dopamine, antibiotics, triglycerides, coumarins.
Pesticides, heavy metals, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) (including nitro-PAH), mycotoxins, dioxins, cocaine acrylamid, bisphenol A, mercury, arsenic were examined among hazardous contaminants. In addition, the interest remains in the analysis of explosives, drugs, toxic substances and others.
Many papers were dedicated to the technology of sorbents preparation for HPLC (more than 30): superficially porous, non-porous, monolithic columns (silica, organic polymeric, hybrid with carbon nanoparticles). The number of columns grows for ultra-HPLC with particle sizes less than 2 microns (1,3–1,7 microns), including superficially porous.
Traditionally it was paid much attention at the conference to improving the teaching of analytical chemistry (16 papers), 77 papers were prepared by postgraduates and undergraduates. Young professionals were awarded for best papers. Laboratory informatics (8) and laboratory management (32) are created for works optimization in large laboratories and information storage. Unusual meetings were devoted to the role of women in analytical chemistry and to assessment of the career success.
Let us note the most interesting papers in biochemistry and medicine: samples from one cell with definition up to a single molecule; NO determination in liquids of injuries to predict human health state; determination of compounds in whole blood by using the method of Solid-phase Microextraction SPME-GC-MS; achievements in understanding the brain functioning by using electrochemical method; anionic sugars as biomarkers of diseases; determination of degradation products in medicines; D-amino acid measuring in the brain tissue; studies of cancer cells by using LC-MS method; amino acids determination in tears; new volatile compounds-markers for the diagnosis of cancer; nitrosothiols volatile – the new class of cancer markers in exhaled air; determination of mycotoxins in human blood; one virus detection by electrochemical method; nanoparticles for diseases visualisation: heart, brain, tumours with therapeutic purposes; gold nanoparticles to observe and study one cancer cell; nanomaterials in the diagnosis: from brain cancer to cardiac arrhythmias; carbon nanomaterials to detect neurotransmitters; metabolic analysis of skin at melanoma; identification of bacteria by electrochemical method; determination of arachidonic and linoleic acids in compounds profile at lung cancer; glucose in tears; MS bioinformatics – breakthrough direction of cancer researches; understanding of diseases complexity through proteomics; understanding of the physiological role of ascorbate using electrochemical method; diagnosis of the genome; achievements in personalized medicine; formaldehyde – reliable means to overcome the blood-brain barrier by xenobiotics; accurate determination of reduced, oxidized and total glutathione in biological fluids; ultra-sensitive definition of early stages of breast cancer by HPLC with chemiluminescence detector; bioinformatics – identification and quantification of metabolites; isolation and analysis of circulating cancer cells in the body; СО2 in urine as prognostic indicator of septic shock; determination of histamine and serotonin in the brain; thiols and oxidative stress; antioxidant catechins behaviour; metabolomics of diabetics; pharmacokinetics of medicines in human organism. Works dominate in the stated papers related with the study and diagnosis of cancer by using chromatographic methods and electrochemical sensors. Interesting analysis of general nature: total carbon content in the sea water; direct determination of procyanidins A and B in cocoa, apples and cinnamon; determination of the food authenticity by infrared spectroscopy (IRS) method; determination of antioxidant activity of food products; determination of volatile components of wheat and rye; analysis for food safety provision; determination of mutagenic activity of heavy metals; determination of steroids in fish; determination of atmospheric methane; identification of explosive substances; determination of flavonoids in juices; definition of veterinary antibiotics in the soil; determination of the taste and smell of drinking water from Missouri; pyrolysis GC-MS for characterization of soils; study of the interaction of food and packaging; new developments of doping-control by saliva; determination of phenolic compounds in honey; express separation of hydrocarbons C1-C8 within 2 min by micro-GC; determination of polyphenols in chocolate; organochlorine compounds in breast milk; analyzes of biofuels; determination of lactose, lactulose and epilactose by hydrophilic chromatography method; definition of tea flavour by MTPME-MS method; steviol glycosides determination in beverages; olive oil composition analysis by HPLC-MS; definition of C and N stable isotopes ratios in the snow. Separate sessions were devoted to the application of analytical methods in the art (5) to authenticate paintings by analysis of paints and substrates, as well as in archeology to determine antiquity terms (5).
The trend of analytical instruments miniaturization (20 papers) remains promising as in the previous years. We will provide incomplete list of papers on this subject: portable (hand-portable) gradient liquid chromatograph; portable ion chromatograph for field tests; mass spectrometer for field tests; implementation of handheld MS; multimodal miniature electrochemical sensors for determination of serotonin, dopamine and salicylate; portable laser device for determination of methane in mines; elemental handheld analyzer; portable handheld colorimeter; handheld Raman and IR spectrometers.
Dozens of new analytical devices were demonstrated in the exhibition, in particular, new liquid chromatographs were exhibited for ultra-HPLC with modernization of pumps, autosamplers and detectors; simple and inexpensive liquid chromatographs with the software for learning. New aerosol and diode array detectors were demonstrated.
From the analysis of papers presented at Pittcon 2015, the following conclusions one can made: chromatography is the leading method among all modern analytical methods, especially in combination with mass spectrometry. It is not coincidence, since these methods allow separating complex mixtures, identify individual components of a mixture and determine them, i.e. quickly produce both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The number of papers on mass spectrometry only (without chromatography) is constantly growing, although international workshops on mass spectrometry are regularly held, and many people prefer to make presentations at these workshops. There is continued interest in the different types of sensors, particularly electrochemical. Great interest in microfluidic systems was demonstrated, despite their serial production hasn’t started yet. There were more papers on all stated areas than at Pittcon 2014. Analytical methods mostly were used in pharmaceutics, biochemistry and medicine, in food products and environment monitoring. All this areas are vital for a person quality of life.
In conclusion, we will note that the visit of annual conferences Pittcon allows professionals to familiarize themselves with the current state of analytical chemistry, as well as learn the basic tendencies of its development. Every year new, breakthrough solutions appear in all parts of analytical chemistry.