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Practical advice to assist users to trouble shoot common problems encountered with old and modern GC & GC/MS instruments and applications.



Whether you're a large or a small company purchasing analytical instrumentation is a significant investment. This reference guide helps you understand the process of making informed decisions to ensure you have fit-for-purpose instrument with trained staff to deliver accurate and reliable data.


Working in any kind of laboratory will require the analyst to possess a basic set of practical skills. Measuring mass or volume, and preparing solutions of known concentration, are likely to be everyday activities. In addition, working in a molecular biology laboratory will entail specific considerations related to the nature of the materials being handled.

This guide covers the basic laboratory skills and other measures required to produce valid results in a molecular biology laboratory − results that are not compromised by poor practical technique, possible cross-contamination or non-validated methodology.

This guide, prepared with the assistance of members of the AMC Mass Spectrometry Sub-Committee, brings together practical advice to assist LC-MS users avoid many common problems and to develop reliable, quantitative applications as quickly and cheaply as possible.  Achieving reliable quantitation by LC-MS depends not only on correct use of the instrumentation but also on correct development and use of the entire analytical method.  Extensive advice on aspects such as sample preparation and calibration strategies is included.  Experience shows that many errors in analytical data result not from lack of understanding of the measurement techniques but as a result of simple and avoidable mistakes during their application.   A brief overview of some common issues is also provided.

Check the condition of all glassware before use, taking special care when using equipment such as pipettes and burettes, as the tips can be easily damaged if these items are not stored correctly.

Glassware should be clean and free from dust. To test if an item is clean:

  • Allow water to drain from the item;
  • The absence of discrete droplets of water on the interior surface indicates a clean, dust free interior.

If droplets of water remain on the interior surface of the item, the glassware should be cleaned prior to use. How to clean and dry glassware:

  • Clean with a suitable detergent such as Teepol® or Decon® 90;
  • Thoroughly rinse with water;

Allow to drain at room temperature, or rinse with acetone and then allow to drain or apply a gentle stream of clean dry air;

Volumetric glassware should not be washed in a dishwasher at high temperatures or dried by heating in an oven as this may affect the accuracy of the graduation marks.