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SDK Develops New Sample-Preparation Cartridge --Ensuring Speedy Analysis of Chemical Substances in Trace Amounts--

November 8, 2004

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has developed a new sample-preparation cartridge based on solid-phase extraction1) that can substantially enhance the efficiency of analyzing trace amounts of chemical substances. Sales of the new cartridge, named “Autoprep @ Series,” will start this month.

SDK has developed the new cartridge to meet a growing demand for analysis of trace amounts of residual chemical substances in water and food. The development is in response to increasing concern of the public about the environment and food safety. Sample preparation means removing components that interfere with analysis and concentrating target chemical substances that exist in trace amounts. The use of “Autoprep @ Series” cartridge will shorten the sample preparation time to one-fourth as compared with conventional devices.

The new cartridge for solid-phase extraction contains porous particles of packing material each measuring several hundred microns in diameter. When in use, the packing material is wetted with solvents such as alcohol and acetone. Then, environmental water (river water, wastewater, ground water or seawater), containing trace amounts of chemical substances to be analyzed, is passed through the cartridge. The chemical substances are captured in the packing material’s pores that are tens of nanometers in size.

While conventional devices have low separation efficiency as the air trapped in pores obstructs the passage of environmental water, SDK has developed a new type of packing material that minimizes the dead space. The new packing material, based on the concept of a “double-pore” structure2) developed by Dr. Kazuki Nakanishi, Associate Professor of Kyoto University, makes it possible to more effectively utilize the pores for capturing chemical substances in a short period of time.

Using the “Autoprep @ Series” cartridge, SDK conducted tests on 69 kinds of residual pesticides that need to be monitored for water quality control under the Water Supply Law as amended in April this year. As a result, SDK has confirmed that the time for removing unnecessary components and concentrating the target substances can be reduced to one-fourth. Due to its speed and high performance, the new cartridge will be best suited to preparation of a large amount of samples.

SDK will make a presentation on the new product at the Japan Environmental Measurement & Chemical Analysis Association’s environmental seminar to be held in Mito on November 9 and 10.

SDK will continue developing advanced tools for sample preparation to serve increasing social needs for environmental protection and food safety.


1. Solid-phase extraction

A method of separation in which a solid is used. In a conventional way, for example, a small amount of oil is added to river water containing bisphenol A (an endocrine disruptor), and the substance is transferred from water into layers of oil due to the difference in solubility. In the case of solid-phase extraction, a layer of oil is formed chemically on the surface of solids, such as packing materials, to capture bisphenol A and other chemical substances from environmental water.

2. Double-pore structure

A structure of packing material having two different types of pores: pores measuring tens of nanometers and larger pores measuring several hundred nanometers. The former secure sufficient level of surface areas of the solids and serve as the site for separation while the latter facilitate the passage of liquid through the inside of the solids.

For further information, contact:
Autoprep Group, Specialty Chemicals Division (Phone: 81-44-329-0733)