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ABI Licenses Separation Method from Northeastern University

NEW YORK, April 23 – Applied Biosystems has exclusively licensed a technology from Northeastern University for integrating high resolution separations techniques, such as liquid chromatography, with MALDI mass spectrometry for use in proteomics, the company said Monday.

The new technology, called the vacuum deposition interface, allows researchers to automate the transfer of sample from a liquid chromatograph or capillary electrophoresis apparatus to the mass spectrometer, giving a more sensitive, higher-throughput protein analysis tool, said Barry Karger, an analytical chemist at Northeastern who helped develop the technique.

Specifically, the vacuum deposition interface involves a tip, placed under vacuum, that sucks up the liquid sample as it leaves the chromatograph, and deposits it in 100 micron-wide streaks on to a moving surface linked to the mass spectrometer.

“Because of all this, you get a fuller representation of the sample,” said Karger. The technology also allows researchers to perform additional mass spectrometry analysis on the same bit of sample, or streak. 

ABI is particularly interested in the technique because it may work well with other mass spectrometry technology the company is developing, such as TOF-TOF, a type of time-of-flight technology, Karger said. 

“It fits nicely with what they’re doing,” he said. “My impression is that they’re very serious.”  
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