• How Can Lab Managers Overcome Mass Spectrometry Pain Points?

Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

How Can Lab Managers Overcome Mass Spectrometry Pain Points?

Sep 15 2021

While mass spectrometry has some incredible benefits, it’s not without its challenges. Lab managers continually face an array of pain points which can compromise both efficiency and results. Below, we explore some of the most effective ways lab managers can overcome these issues.

  • Invest in modern equipment

Laboratory equipment is continually improving, meaning the difference between a decade-old mass spectrometer and a newly manufactured instrument is significant. Upgrading equipment is one of the best ways to overcome some of the major issues associated with mass spectrometry.

  • Focus on training staff

Lack of training can be a key driver of inefficiency in the laboratory. When it comes to mass spectrometry, proper training of staff is essential. Taking the time to draft up a detailed training plan and ensuring it’s executed is an easy and effective way to overcome mass spectrometry pain points. This can include buddy systems within the laboratory to train new staff, as well as sending current staff on specialised training programs.  

  • Understand the pros and cons of different MS techniques

Used to measure the mass-to-charge ratios of ions, mass spectrometry is one of the most valuable analytical techniques a laboratory can utilise. Depending on the application, scientists can choose from a myriad of ionisation techniques and mass analysers. Understanding the pros and cons of these different approaches is a guaranteed way to improve efficiency in the laboratory and unlock better results. For example, secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) may be a smarter choice than gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) depending on the nature of the sample. Knowing when to choose SIMS over GC-MS is fundamental to managing an efficient and reliable laboratory.

  • Choose the right sample preparation techniques

Selecting the right sample preparation techniques can have a big impact on mass spectrometry. The quality and reliability of data is directly linked to the purity of the sample introduced to the mass spectrometer, meaning choosing the right preparation techniques is an important step. Protein samples can be incredibly complex, meaning there is no universal method for preparation. Instead, lab managers must factor in variables such as physical properties, complexity, source and cellular location.

  • Maintain and service equipment

Malfunctioning or faulty equipment is a key driver of mass spectrometry issues. Ensuring equipment is properly maintained and serviced is an easy way to improve efficiency and minimise the risk of inaccurate results.

Efficiency is one pain point that lab managers are continually striving to improve. Find out more about how new technologies are helping speed up processes and achieve faster, more reliable results in ‘dia-PASEF: A Result of the Co-evolution of Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics’

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