ASMS 2009: No Shortage of New Products

The 57th American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) meeting was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 31 though June 4. Despite the recession, attendance only declined slightly to 6,542, down from 6,569 in 2008 (see IBO 6/15/08). The number of exhibitors contracted for the second year in a row, declining to 165 from 171 in 2008. However, this follows a jump of nearly 30% in the number of exhibitors in 2007.

Activity among ASMS exhibitors appeared to be high. Many vendors noted better attendance at user meetings, more foot traffic at their booths and hospitality suites, and more sales leads and higher quoting activity, much of it related to government stimulus programs. There were quite a few instrument introductions at this year’s show, possibly reflecting the focus many vendors are putting on the show for unveiling MS products.

News at the show included new partnership agreements involving Agilent, Applied Biosystems and Waters. Agilent announced a comarketing agreement with Phytronix Technologies for its Laser Diode Thermal Desorption (LDTD) ion source. LDTD enables higher throughput analyses. A dried sample deposited on a 96-well plate is thermal desorbed prior to atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI). In 2007, Phytronix signed a distribution agreement with Thermo Scientific (see IBO 10/31/07). Agilent also announced a phase one agreement with Owlstone Nanotech to develop a field-asymmetric ion mobility spectrometry filter for front-end separations on Agilent TOF-MS systems. Applied Biosystems announced new MS services, including compliance services and services for Shimadzu LCs coupled with Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex MS systems. Waters announced that it will work with Dotmatics to develop integrated metabolism-elucidation software for its TOF-MS systems.

Shimadzu’s major new product for the show was its AXIMA Resonance MALDI-Q-TOF system, which is an advancement of its MALDI-QIT model, both of which make use of an ion trap front-end mass analyzer. The major improvement in the Resonance is the addition of Hypercool technology, which rapidly cools ions in the ion trap, thus reducing unwanted fragmentation and improving sensitivity in both MS and MSn mode from femtomole level to attomole level. The primary markets targeted by the Resonance include biomarker characterization and Post Translational Modification (PTM) analysis, as well as other molecular structure analyses. The list price starts at $420,000.

Also new was Shimadzu’s LCMS-2020 single quadrupole LC/MS. First announced in January, the LCMS-2020 offers 15-ms positive/negative ion switching and 15,000 u/second scanning, which significantly improves sensitivity and makes it more than capable of being paired with fast HPLC instruments. The LCMS-2020 is now shipping and starts at under $100,000 without an LC.

In addition to instruments, Shimadzu also introduced disposable MALDI target plates and software for its AXIMA line of MALDI MS systems. Shimadzu’s FlexiMass-DS MALDI targets are single-use disposable plastic plates that are intended to be more cost effective than standard reusable targets. In the software area, Shimadzu introduced QC Reporter software for manufacturing QC applications, PTM Finder for facilitating PTM identification and the SeqLab de-novo peptide-sequencing package.

Bruker rolled out three entirely new MS systems at ASMS, in addition to its Edmass MALDI-TOF systems, which were introduced at Pittcon (see IBO 3/15/09). Bruker’s ultrafleXtreme is its newest and highest-end MALDI-TOF/TOF system. It incorporates a new 1 kHz smartbeam-II laser and a new 4 GHz digitizer, which help it achieve 40,000 resolving power and 1 ppm mass accuracy. The ultrafleXtreme also incorporates a new automated self-cleaning feature, which can be run in about 15 minutes. The ultrafleXtreme is priced about 15% higher than its predecessor model.

Bruker introduced the amaZon ion trap LC/MS, the major improvement of which is new ion funnel technology. Bruker claims better-than-unit resolution at a scan speed of 52,000 u/second and a mass-resolving power ability of 20,000. The amaZon, which is also equipped with Electron Transfer Dissociation (ETD)/Proton Transfer Reaction fragmentation capability, provides an order of magnitude better sensitivity than Bruker’s predecessor HCT ion trap model. List price of the system starts at €295,000, which is in the high $300,000s, depending on exchange rates.

At the very high end of the market, Bruker introduced the solariX FT/MS integrated hybrid Q-FT/MS system. With a 7T magnet, the system provides better than 1,000,000 broad-band resolving power, according to Bruker, and an order of magnitude better sensitivity than Bruker’s previous-generation instrument. An added feature is the front-end ETD fragmentation capability, which is in addition to its quadrupole-Collision-Induced Dissociation (CID), in-cell-CID and Electron Capture Dissociation methods. The solariX is now available with 7T, 9.4T, 12T and 15T power magnets. Two units are already installed.

Thermo Scientific unveiled top-end models of both the LTQ and LTQ-Orbitrap, both named the Velos. The primary improvement on the Velos models is a dual pressure ion trap. The new design of the LTQ’s mass analyzer allows for higher-speed scanning and improved sensitivity. Another new technology is the S-Lens ion optics, which significantly improves ion transmission. A new feature specific to the LTQ-Orbitrap Velos is the addition of ETD capability, which was already available on LTQ models, and adds to the CID and Higher Energy Collision Induced Dissociation capabilities of the Orbitrap family. IBO expects LTQ Velos’s pricing to start at over $400,000, and LTQ-Orbitrap Velos’s pricing to start between $700,000 and $800,000. On the software side, Thermo introduced the Watson LIMS 7.4 TSQ module for control of the entire workflow of Thermo TSQ instruments, TraceFinder for food safety and environmental applications on the TSQ Quantum Access MAX, and Mass Frontier 6.0 spectral interpretation software for the analysis of MSn data.

Agilent introduced a host of instruments at ASMS. In LC/MS, Agilent introduced both the mid-range 6430 triple quadrupole LC/MS and the high-end 6540 Q-TOF LC/MS. The 6430 enters Agilent’s lineup above the 6410, but does not incorporate that model’s JetStream technology. The 6430 is offered with Agilent’s HPLC-Chip/MS system and targets protein quantitation applications. The 6430 is priced starting at around $280,000 and is now shipping. At the high end of Agilent’s Q-TOF range is the new 6540, which incorporates a longer flight tube and an improved reflectron mirror for resolution power of 40,000. The system is set to begin shipping in the fall and should be priced starting at around $550,000.

In the atomic spectroscopy area, Agilent introduced the 7700 Series ICP-MS. The new model is a benchtop instrument that is about 30% smaller than Agilent’s 7500 series, but has the same or better performance. Besides size, Agilent focused on making the 7700 much easier to use. The 7700 also uses helium as opposed to argon gas, which eliminates interference issues associated with argon.

Also introduced at ASMS was Agilent’s 1290 Infinity LC, which is based on an all-new pump and diode array detector. The system boasts a delay volume of 10 µL and can use any major brand of column. Agilent claims the system can operate at higher speed and flow than any other model currently on the market. The 1290 Infinity is expected to be priced starting at around $100,000, and should begin shipping toward the end of the year.

Applied Biosystems showed its recently introduced 5800 MALDI-TOF/TOF system, which is more than 10 times faster than its predecessor, the 4800. The 5800, which began shipping in April, is expected to be a workhorse instrument in core biomarker labs like the previous model. Also being shown at ASMS for the first time were the AB SCIEX 5500 triple quadrupole LC/MS and AB SCIEX 5500 Q-Trap LC/MS systems, which were introduced in October 2008 (see IBO 10/31/08). Applied Biosystems also introduced Cliquid 3.0 software for the identification of unknowns in food analysis and forensics, and the mTRAQ triplex reagents for food, water, forensics and protein biomarker analyses.

Waters announced the introduction of its second-generation Synapt system, the Synapt G2. The Synapt G2 incorporates a number of improvements in optics and electronics that improve the mass accuracy (1 ppm), scanning speed (20 spectra/second) and resolution (40,000), putting it on par with other top-end Q-TOF instruments recently introduced. Another improvement is the next-generation Triwave ion mobility separator, which has four times the resolving power of the original Synapt. The system will be priced between the low $500,000s and the mid-$700,000s, with initial shipments expected to begin in the fourth quarter.

Ionics Mass Spectrometry Group entered the initial system market with its first complete instrument offering, the 3Q Triple Quadrupole LC/MS. Until now, the company had focused its energies on developing ionization sources and providing service for Applied Biosystems triple quadrupole instruments. The 3Q is configured vertically as a floor-standing instrument, which takes up less footprint than conventional benchtop triple quadrupole systems. The instrument can be equipped with either a single or dual atmospheric pressure interface for either Electrospray Ionization or APCI sources. Along with the 3Q, Ionics has also developed the MolAna data acquisition and quantitation software. The company intends to market its new products to academic labs pursuing clinical diagnostics R&D. The single-source version of the instrument will be priced at $345,000, with the dual-source version priced $10,000 higher.

At ASMS, OI Analytical officially launched its Ion-Camera transportable MS based on magnetic sector technology. As an option, the system can be equipped with an integrated Agilent micro GC. The Ion-Camera will be marketed toward environmental, HazMat, human health and safety, and general industrial applications. Pricing for the basic instrument is expected to start at around $50,000, while the micro GC–equipped version will run about $80,000. OI Analytical is already beta testing a number of instruments and expects to be shipping the Ion-Camera in the third quarter.

Other major MS vendors present at the show included Varian and PerkinElmer. Interestingly, Varian introduced its 225-MS benchtop ion trap GC/MS during the show via press release, but did not make a significant announcement at the show regarding it. PerkinElmer, which acquired Analytica of Branford (AOB) less than a month prior to the show (see IBO 5/15/09), exhibited AOB’s quadrupole and TOF LC/MS instruments, and indicated that new models based on AOB technology are currently in development.

Next year, ASMS will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah, from May 23 to May 26. Once again, the meeting schedule will overlap with the Memorial Day holiday, which could further affect attendance.

Chart: Techniques Cited in ASMS Conference Abstracts

2008 2009

GC/MS77 114 120

TOF-TOF 150 148

Triple Quadrupole 223 224

FT-ICR198 266 242

MALDI-TOF 303 271

Ion Trap 572 493

Q-Trap19 697 649

Q-TOF216 697 735

LC/MS/MS 674 737

< | >