Issue #3/2015V.Rodchenkova Analitika Expo 2015 International Exhibition: Emerging technology timelines
The 13th International exhibition for laboratory equipment and chemical reagents "Analitika Expo 2015" was held on April 14 to 17, 2015 in the Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre. That is the most grand-scale event in the industry that hosts shows of brand new domestic and foreign pilot projects in laboratory solutions, equipment, furniture, chemicals and materials every year. That is the meeting place for developers, manufacturers, suppliers and consumers of the analytic equipment and technology.
The exhibition was powered by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Rostest-Moscow Company, Russian Chemists Union, Academic Board of Russian Academy of Sciences, AAC "Analitika", and Roshimreaktiv Nonprofit Partnership as well.
This year 220 companies from 18 countries took part in the exhibition. The latter had 5817 visitors from 63 regions of the Russian Federation and 24 worldwide countries. Total Exhibition area exceeded 9600 sq. m.
Major lines for attendees were quality surveillance; laboratory solutions; biotechnologies, biosciences, diagnostics; and nanotechnology.
A lot of focused events, workshops and presentations of leading companies: developers, manufacturers and distributors of the present day analytical tools took place within the framework of the diverse business program of "Analitika Expo" exhibition.
Exhibition day one was embraced by the workshop devoted to "Development and registration of medicinal products: analytical issues". Within the latter, pharmacists had the opportunity to discuss what makes the pursuance of the research in bioequivalence successful, modern opticospectral analysis in medicinal product quality surveillance, and many other actual topics.
Soon after the Christmas-Plus company arranged the seminar "Chemical examination approaches: off-the-shelf multiindustry solutions based on portable tools". The speaker emphasized on commonality in filed analysis techniques. Similar analytical methods are to be selected for different objects, multilevel approaches and unified equipment shall be used to archive the goal. Participants met the possibility to discuss unification measures in portable equipment sector and multiindustry implementation of express chemical analysis means.
Second course of business activities was held at the "Analitika Expo" on April 15. Roshimreaktiv Nonprofit Partnership jointly with ITE held workshops "Modern methods of water control: background, perspectives, advance developments" and "Up-to-date requirements to carriage of dangerous goods – chemicals". AAC "Analitika", the co-organizer of the exhibition, held a workshop named "Quality assurance in analytical laboratories".
Review of the last year exhibition "Analitika Expo 2014" (Analitika, 2014, № 4, p. 22–53) has described successes and achievements of companies from Russia. On this count our attention was settled on a number of new and interested development directions of state-of-the-industry analytical methods and technology described in details in the framework of the business program.
Before the inauguration of the exhibition there was an event happened. That was the event that ruled the roost to the whole exhibition, or anyway to its business program. The first affair thereof was the proceedings of A.T. Lebedev "Modern approaches in mass spectrophotometry to solve ecology and life-sciences challenges". The lecturer has noted mass spectrophotometry as the most sensitive, informative, rapid and graceful method in analytical chemistry. It can deal nearly with any compound staring with elementary isotopes and going to biopolymers having millions in molecular numbers. It is true, that you can analyze substances composed of dozens of thousands components. This is precisely why there is so huge number of mass spectrometers with so drastically different characteristics are available at the market.
Method development trends comprise several directions. First, there are results’ reliability enhancements developed with high-resolution and tandem mass spectrometry. Second direction bears information capacity enhancement, i.e. increase in analytes number per experiment. Thirdly, there is a trend to develop portable tools. Fourthly, we can speak about increase in sensitivity. Fifthly, one can mention speed-up of analysis, simplification or complete excluding of sampling procedures. Due to the available numeric methods, today’s mass spectra shouldn’t be vivid – data arrays can be automatically processed having the operator just performing the results discussion and concluding.
Despite the fact that samples preparation time has decreased a lot till present, mass-spectrometry operating in normal ambient conditions, e.g. completely without sample preparation procedures, is of particular interest, specifically for environmental and safety-related analysis in public places. Among these are desorption electrospray ionization, paper spray ionization, direct analysis in real time (DART), etc.
Implementation of mass spectrometry in medicine bears great potential. For example, to supervise surgery in real time. New techniques of spectrometry visualization are of high expectations. This method allows conduction of substances mapping layer-by-layer in a living body. Development of metabolomics, the science studying human’s metabolism, is also connected with mass spectrometry analysis. Ion mass spectrophotometry allows discovering of data bearing information on plants growth sites or food or beverages production facilities.
Many participants has coincided their premiers’ demonstrations with the expo. Thus the Analytik Jena Company presented space-saving Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass-Spectrometer, the PlasmaQuant MS. The last is intended for R&D, is highly sensitive and have low detection thresholds. Several proprietary technologies are implemented to power up the device. That is radio-frequency oscillator consuming half as much argon to maintain stable plasma comparing to comparable analogues. Integrated collision cell minimizes interferences, while quadrupole’s special design provides for low background signal level. High sensitivity is achieved due to application of hollow ion mirror, reflecting ion beam at a straight angle. Dynamic linear range of the digital detecting system is 10 orders; that is achieved with the use of digital detector with automatic sensitivity tuning. The integrated burner is auto-calibrated providing for accuracy and reproducibility of the results. The premier attracted keen interest resulting in an avalanche of questions on features and benefits thereof against comparatives.
"Real-Time Markerless Analysis of Biomolecular Interactions" workshop had draw much interest as well. It was arranged by Pall Company and accompanied with ForteBio Octet и BLItz systems presentation. Those are system based on interference of light reflected against different biomolecular surfaces. The method was called the BioLayer Interferometry (BLI).
Fiber optic BLI-biosensor is a cylinder-shaped body with biocompatible capping for protein molecules to catch. White light beam is directed through the fiber optic to the capping, part of which is reflected at the boundary with another part penetrating through the capping and being reflected against the far end thereof. Two reflected light waves are passing to the watchpoint different passes, resulting in interference to this end. The so called interference profile (i.e. spectra of interference) is recorded at the biosensor output by registering light intensity for variable wavelength. One can see sinusoidal wave with minimums due to superposition of two waves came to the watchpoint in antiphase and maximums for the inphase. Having protein molecules caught on the capping surface, the interfering ways pass difference increases due to the growth of the layer thickness. Thus, the interference profile (spectra) expands to the longer ways, i.e. to the right. The higher is the amount of caught molecules, the higher is the shift. As the molecules binding to the biocompatible capping process is a dynamic one, i.e. some caught molecules break down and enter the solution, while other are caught from the solution, the spectra shifts in time in both directions subject to the classic dissociation effect curve. The last provides a possibility to determine rates of association, dissociation, affinity constant, etc.
Pall Fortebio Octet systems are intended for markerless analysis of biomolecular interactions with 6- and 384-well plates. To process less samples amounts Pall Fortebio BLItz system is the optimal one. All systems allow for real-time quantitative examination of proteins, analysis of affinity and kinetics. They are easily controlled and characterized by high speed and economic efficiency. Markerless method, ease of maintenance, exclusion of sample preparation processes, high productivity, rapidness of analysis and high accuracy of results are of major benefits. All that is of great importance when developing new pharmaceutical substances.
Nanotechnology and nanomaterials is the next outlook. Nanodimensional structure studies promote development of new and retrofitting of existing analytical equipment. Microfluidics or a "lab-on-a-chip" thriving technology is a good opening, as to the specialists’ opinions. That is about nanotextured systems as well. Business section hosted workshop "Encapsulation and Microfluidics" held by Dia-M Company from Russia. It was that workshop, were the Dolomite Company developments were presented. Dolomite is the leader in development and production of microfluidic systems. Microfluidics is the tool to operate with miserable volumes of liquid and gas, with crystalline and polymeric nano-particles, live cells of flora and fauna, bacteria, bubbles and drops. Microfluidic system is a compact device (a chip) having small volume of liquid (10-9 to 10-6 litters) under pressure generated by a pump through channels of several to several hundred micrometers. In general, microfluidic systems manufacturing is based on substrates preparation, manufacture of a photolithographic mask for the selected channels configuration, and the channels formation and sealing up. Materials are optical glass and polymers. Glass, as a material, benefits excellent pressure endurance, chemical-resistance and transparency in optical wavelengths range. All these may be elevated yet more using quartz. However polymers are more suitable for some reasons, e.g. for expendable items for clinical recognitions. Chips of metal are used when there is a necessity in high heat or electric conductivity, or at extremely high pressures. For example it is the case of high-pressure and high-temperature microreactors, electrochemical cells and sensors.
Microfluidics is an applied science applicable to a number of fields. They are integrated circuits (electron cooling) and applied crystallography (proteins crystal growth) and up to life-science researches (biological analysis, chemosynthesis). The method moves frontiers in examination of microscopic scopes of matter, promotes development of micropumps, micromixers, microdippers. The last can generate even-granular dips of the same volume being just 5 to 250 µm in diameter; or oil-in-water/water-in-oil microemulsions; double emulsions; capillary electrophoresis. Microfluidics is the optimal engineering solution to produce polymeric, metal or semiconductor nanoparticles of 1 to 100 nm in diameter, benefiting low material consumption, low scattering of particle sizes, efficient mixing and strict control of temperature and timing in chemical reactions. Microchips are particularly useful for in-filed express examinations, e.g. of open water safety exams and determination of contamination sources. Examination can be conducted just when sampling the water. A sample is pumped through a microfluidics flow-trough cell connected to a microspore. Thus germs are identified in real-time mode by an image recognition software. Moreover, the microspore is "micro-sized" itself. Microfluidics pushes the boundaries of biomedicine.
I will note one more aspect that attracted attention. It is related to training projects. Education and science are closely interrelated, the quality of education always affects the level of scientific achievements. Therefore, it is very important to maintain and improve the level and prestige of education. And if for learning of humanitarian subjects and human sciences development books and Internet communications are sufficient, the situation with natural sciences subjects is much more complicated. For their learning visual teaching methods are required: demonstration of experiments, as well as laboratory and research works, confirming and visualizing the laws and phenomena of nature. It is difficult to surprise the current generation of schoolchildren, but an intelligent approach to the organization of individual research works certainly will interest talented schoolchildren and will increase their motivation to further education. "Polyus NT" Company in partnership with "NT-MDT" Company develops, manufactures, supplies and supports scientific and educational complexes "Nanolab". It is the set of advanced analytical instruments for interdisciplinary laboratory works and research projects performance. The major part of the laboratory works relates to the actual scientific directions of the last 10–20 years and can be performed by schoolchildren under the guidance of teacher with methodological support of the complex designers and manufacturers. Key instruments of the complex: the scanning probe microscope (operating in the mode of atomic force, magnetic force and scanning tunneling microscopy) and pyrolytic chemical reactor. The works of three levels of engagement are proposed: educational and demonstrational, scientific and educational, design and research. Methodical descriptions include detailed description of the work progress and methods for result producing. Some titles of research projects are as follows: "Synthesis of carbon nanotubes using the method of ethanol catalytic pyrolysis", "Structural and magnetic domains in amorphous metal tapes", "The osmotic phenomenon at the macro- and micro-level". Such works will be interesting for students as well.
Another one training complex on the basis of X-ray fluorescence analyzer "Panda" is represented by "Scientific Instruments" Company. The analyzer is designed to determine the elementary composition of solid, liquid and powder substances. It consists of the miniature low-power X-ray tube and the sensitive semiconductor detector with low noise and high resolution. "Panda" design is highly reliable. It is important to emphasize that the expert opinion was received on the radiological safety of the appliance.
Jointly with teachers of the Academic Gymnasium of St. Petersburg University the following textbooks were created: "Physical principles of the theory of optical and
X-ray spectroscopy" and "Basics of X-ray fluorescence analysis method. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of material, using compact analyzer "Panda". Laboratory Practicum". The educational complex also includes the software that complements the textbook.
In addition to the Laboratory Practicum, training research projects were developed, such as "Analysis of gemstones", "Study of the elemental composition of coins". Initially, the complex was designed for schoolchildren, but it is also of interest for younger students and will be very useful.
The exhibition made an impression, it’s a bright and colorful event that brought together many interesting and talented people striving to show all the best reached by the advanced science and technology. Many achievements of modern analytical science boggle the imagination. The flight of scientists thought is so swift that the practice will not get soon to such heights. Maybe a miracle will happen, and brilliant ideas will be realized much sooner than expected?