Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • High Performance, Diamond ATR Sampling Accessory for Materials and Pharmaceutical Research

High Performance, Diamond ATR Sampling Accessory for Materials and Pharmaceutical Research

Oct 12 2020 Read 730 Times

The Golden Gate Diamond ATR is now over 25 years old but remains at the forefront of research in materials and pharmaceutical formulation and many other areas.

Investigation of Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms

A pharmaceutical formulation is the process by which the bioactive component in a medicine is processed into a stable form, by which the correct dosage may be administered safely to the patient. The correct dose of a medicine may be far too small for practical application in its raw form. Instead, the active ingredient is formulated with a number of other compounds, called excipients, which make up the physical bulk of most tablets and capsules, but these same excipients also have a vital role in supporting the stability of the active ingredients during manufacture.

During the pre-formulation phase, studies may be undertaken to assess the effect of excipients or manufacturing processes on the stability, delivery, or bioavailability of the active ingredient. The bioavailability is mainly a function of its solubility in aqueous and lipid environments and therefore much research has been directed at ways of improving dissolution and absorption characteristics.

These studies are particularly needed for the characterisation of novel pharmaceutic agents. One such category of substances is proteins, whose characteristic secondary and tertiary structures may easily be disrupted by heat and mechanical stress. Processes used during the formulation of a drug, such as spray-drying, are a potential cause of protein denaturation due to their tendency to migrate towards the air-liquid interface at the surface of droplets.

In another study, drug loading within mesoporous silica carriers was investigated using ATR-FTIR spectroscopic imaging. A hot melt process was used to load the model API (Ibuprofen) into the silica carrier. In-situ hot melt loading and dissolution studies, involving a temperature ramp from ambient to 80°C followed by dissolution in a phosphate buffer were carried out on a Golden Gate ATR using a flow cell attachment specially designed by the researchers. The resulting spectra showed the process by which crystalline ibuprofen is absorbed into pores within the compacted mesoporous silica during heating and then, during dissolution, partly recrystallised in the vacant holes left by the original crystals.

Sustainable Food Packaging

There has been much effort in recent years to avoid excessive use plastics and other packaging, whose disposal represents an increasing problem. Alternative, sustainable sources of packaging derived from plant waste, as part of a circular economy, are of great interest to researchers. In addition to this, the use of naturally occurring agents within packaging materials can help increase shelf life by preventing microbial decay of foodstuffs, thereby minimising food waste.

Another bio-based application for food packaging is the use of essential oils from plants as antimicrobial coatings. Active packaging materials contain agents which are released from the material over time and act to stabilise food, increase its shelf-life, or have antimicrobial properties. ATR-FTIR combined with chemometric tools such as PLS have been used successfully to characterise and quantify these agents on packaging materials.

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