GC/MS and MALDI Populate ASMS Product Introductions

Although the range of new product introductions at this year’s ASMS meeting did not match the scale or scope of last year, there were still a number of significantly new mass spectrometers and related products that will no doubt have a major impact on the mass spectrometry market. The most common theme among these new introductions was GC/MS, particularly the “value system” segment. The extension of existing mass spectrometers into the realm of MALDI, as well as sample preparation products for MALDI imaging, made up the bulk of the other new products introduced at ASMS.

LECO, Thermo Scientific, Varian and PerkinElmer all introduced new GC/MS systems at the show. LECO’s completely new TruTOF HT is a benchtop GC-TOF (Time-of-Flight) system that IBO has chosen as the best new product of the show (see sidebar). With an acquisition rate of 80 spectra per second, the TruTOF HT considerably outperforms all other commercial GC-TOF systems, with the exception of LECO’s own Pegasus system. Even more impressively, the TruTOF HT’s price point is well under $100,000, far below that of any other GC-TOF on the market.

Both Varian and PerkinElmer introduced lower-end models within their respective quadrupole GC/MS lines, both of which are relatively new product lines for the companies. PerkinElmer’s new Clarus 560 D is a single quadrupole GC/MS that provides a lower cost alternative to its Clarus 600 Series GC/MS systems and is designed to be combined with the Clarus 500 GC. Varian’s new 300-MS GC/MS is the third model in Varian’s 300 Series of GC/MS systems and is available in both single quadrupole ($95,000) and triple quadrupole ($140,000) versions.

Thermo Fisher Scientific expanded its participation in the GC/MS market into the triple quadrupole segment by introducing a new version of its TSQ Quantum with a switchable GC-LC ionization source. Like most other GC/MS systems, the GC/MS configuration of Thermo’s TSQ Quantum offers both electron ionization and chemical ionization sources and has a mass range of up to 3,000 m/z.

In the field of MALDI mass spectrometry, there were a number of new developments. Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex introduced the FlashQuant mass spectrometer, which integrates a newly developed MALDI source with the API 4000 triple quadrupole platform, creating the first fully integrated MALDI-triple quadrupole on the market. The system is targeted at high-throughput quantitation of pharmaceuticals and metabolites. Currently installed API 4000 LC/MS systems can be upgraded with the new MALDI source at a cost of around $350,000. Complete systems should be priced upwards of $600,000.

Waters updated its Synapt HDMS LC/MS system with a MALDI front end in its new MALDI Synapt system, which is, at its core, a Q-TOF mass spectrometer equipped with both MALDI and atmospheric pressure ionization sources. The major feature of the system is its additional ion mobility capability, which provides an added dimension of ion separation analysis.

There were also two new preparative systems for MALDI imaging applications shown at ASMS, along with several MALDI prep systems that were recently introduced. Bruker Daltonics introduced the ImagePrep system to complement its range of MALDI-TOF and MALDI-Q-TOF mass spectrometers. The ImagePrep is priced in the $60,000–$80,000 range and is already shipping. Protein Discovery, a small independent company, introduced the MALDIplex M5 system, which is still in beta testing and is expected to ship in 2008 at a price of around $50,000. LabCyte showed its Portrait 630 Reagent Spotter System, which was introduced at Pittcon earlier this year and operates on the basis of acoustic droplet ejection (see IBO 3/31/07). Shimadzu was heavily promoting its CHIP 1000 chemical inkjet printer, which has been on the market for several years now, specifically for MALDI applications. LEAP Technologies showed its TM Sprayer prep system for MALDI imaging, which was introduced in late 2006.

Thermo Fisher introduced several other new mass spectrometers. The company has taken its Orbitrap system into a second generation with the LTQ Orbitrap Discovery and the LTQ Orbitrap XL. The Discovery model is capable of 30,000 mass resolution and is equipped and priced to compete with Q-TOF systems. The XL model, which is priced at a $150,000 premium to the Discovery, is the higher performance system and is capable of 100,000 resolving power. The XL is currently available with Thermo’s higher collision decomposition cell for high-energy collision induced dissociation and will be configurable with electron transfer dissociation (ETD) early next year. Thermo does not currently plan to make ETD available on the Discovery. Also introduced at ASMS was Thermo’s new LCQ Fleet ion trap LC/MS system, which combines Thermo’s popular conventional 3-D ion trap with the same platform as Thermo’s 2-D LTQ and LXQ LC/MS systems. The LCQ Fleet, which is positioned as Thermo’s value system, has better performance than the original LCQ Deca.

Optional capabilities were also introduced for systems that are already on the market. Thermo Fisher announced that its FAIMS (Field Asymmetric Waveform Ion Mobility Spectrometry) system, which filters ions based on ion mobility, will now be available on all of its ion trap LC/MS systems. Hitachi High-Technologies added electron capture dissociation to its LC-IT-TOF system via a module on the front end of the mass spectrometer. It will be available in a complete system priced at around $490,000, which compares with $450,000 for the base model.

Waters introduced the IdentityE system, which comprises its nanoAQUITY UPLC system and either a Q-ToF Premier or Synapt quadrupole TOF mass spectrometer. Although neither of these systems is brand new, the promotion of the packaged system is a new marketing angle from Waters, which is targeting the qualitative proteomics market.Although Agilent did not have any new instruments to introduce at this year’s ASMS show, it still had some significant products to show. One of these was the combination of Agilent’s HPLC/Chip system, which is now available with its 6410 triple quadrupole LC/MS system. Agilent was also showing an upgraded version of its 6140 single quadrupole LC/MS, which retains the same model number but now has faster switching between positive and negative ion detection, which complements the company’s Dual Mode Source.

The major mass spectrometer companies also introduced a number of consumable products at the show. Waters released its MassPREP Phosphopeptide Enrichment Kit, a 96-well micro–solid phase extraction plate packed with metal affinity chromatography technology. Agilent launched the Human-14 protein removal systems, the latest version of its Multiple Affinity Removal System, available in HPLC column and spin cartridge formats. Agilent also launched its High-Capacity Enrichment Column Chip for sample loads up to 4 µl and the Intact Protein Chip. Thermo, through its Fisher acquisition, released the Thermo Scientific Pierce SILAC (Stable Isotope Labeling with Amino Acids in Cell Culture) Protein Quantitation Kit, featuring in vivo labeling capabilities. Thermo also introduced TurboFlow XL columns for use with its Transcend LC/MS System.

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