Decoding Automation of Metabolite and Lipid Extraction Workflows

Technology improvements in liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry have enhanced the detection and identification of metabolites and lipids from complex biological samples. As metabolomics and lipidomics measurements become increasingly valued, there is a growing need to automate sample preparation workflows.

Specifically, Agilent automation offers intuitive workflows that provide high data reproducibility and increased throughput while reducing hands-on time. In this webinar, we describe key learnings revealed during the automation of several workflows that extract metabolites and/or lipids from plasma and mammalian cell samples.



Genevieve Van de Bittner, Ph.D.
R&D Researcher
Agilent Research Laboratories
Agilent Technologies, Inc.


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Jet Fuel by ICP-MS

The measurement of trace metals in petroleum feeds and its derivatives provides vital information required for running sustainable and daily petroleum operations around the world. Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) is used in different petroleum facilities due to its ability to perform multi-element analyses, covering a broad range of concentrations as well as being robust and reliable. ICP-MS is becoming more integrated into petroleum laboratories due to its maturity and versatility.

This talk will cover Agilent’s efforts towards developing an ASTM Jet Fuel method. Many interesting elements that aren’t commonly requested, including Platinum (Pt) and Palladium (Pd), will be discussed with this new ICP-MS method. Preliminary data from the ASTM pilot study will be shared in this talk.



Jenny Nelson, PhD
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.


Mark Kelinske
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.


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Nuclear Fusion: A Vision for Clean Energy

On 13 December 2022, the U.S. Secretary of Energy announced a major scientific breakthrough from a Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California has carried out the first nuclear fusion experiment to achieve a net energy gain in the context of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) project.


What is nuclear fusion?

Nuclear fusion is a reaction that powers our main source of light and energy: the sun, as well as other stars. In the reaction, two (or more) atomic nuclei – encompassing protons and neutrons – fuse to form larger nuclei while releasing energy. This energy release occurs because the total mass of the resulting nuclei is less than the mass of the original nuclei that were fused. The leftover mass becomes energy that can be used to run a turbine-electrical power generator.


Making a star on Earth to create energy

Research scientists are attempting to recreate nuclear fusion – the reaction in which stars of our universe are generated – on Earth because the reaction can create enormous amounts of energy.
For nuclear fusion to occur, stellar-like temperatures (i.e., 100 million+ degrees) must be achieved. This process forces the positively charged nuclei to form plasma within a contained vector, overcome their repulsion by moving independently at speeds of around 1,000 km/s, and fuse.

Theoretically, if the energy generated from lab-controlled nuclear fusion could be harnessed and effectively stored on a global scale, this technology could transform how we fuel our homes, businesses, and vehicle transportation. The reaction is so efficient that 1 kg of fusion fuel could provide the same amount of energy as 10 million kg of fossil fuel.


Urgent demand for clean energy

Since the 19th century, Earth’s temperature has increased by approximately 1.1 °C. The amount of carbon dioxide has risen by 50% because greenhouse gases have been released from fossil fuels burnt for energy.

Average temperature increases should not exceed 1.5 °C by the start of the 22nd century, scientists are warning. However, there is an urgent demand for clean energy implementation on a global scale, as a UN report from October 2022 predicts Earth’s temperature will rise by at least 2.4 °C by 2100.4


An emerging solution for clean energy

Research scientists in this field highlight the fact that nuclear fusion may be the solution for generating clean energy while mitigating the effects of global warming. The process does not rely on using energy sourced from fossil fuels and does not produce greenhouse gas pollutants or long-lived radioactive waste. Fusion reactor materials can also be recycled or re-used within 100 years.

In essence, nuclear fusion provides a vision toward clean and low-price energy that is within our grasp, and which one day may be able to support our daily lives, economies, and technological evolutions.


A milestone achievement at LLNL

On 5 December 2022, the LLNL team at its National Ignition Facility (NIF) conducted a nuclear fusion experiment that resulted in a milestone achievement to date: energy breakeven – meaning that the experiment produced more energy than required to initiate the process.
The breakthrough represents a historic moment; it comes at a much-needed time, as the world faces high and unstable energy prices and unprecedented effects of global warming due to continual, global fossil-fueled energy use.

NIF development and testing spans over 50 years, and the facility leads the international laser fusion scientific community where other experiments operate, such as the Japanese FIREX and SG-III in China.


Advancing the research field

Now that LLNL’s research team has successfully demonstrated net-energy gain from a nuclear fusion experiment, there are still some technical challenges to overcome, such as:

  1. Replicating the experiment – if the conditions of the reaction are not favourable, it halts
  2. Further optimisation of all reaction conditions while ensuring that all components are robust enough to withstand the extreme environment necessary for nuclear fusion to occur
  3. Yielding and extracting an even higher energy output from the nuclear fusion reaction

The next R&D phase at LLNL – as well as associated research labs – will most likely involve replication and method development to achieve higher energy gains, and make advancements toward longer-term commercial viability. When it comes to vacuum technology support, Agilent products and expertise will continue to play an important role in advancing this research field.


In the meantime, sustainable lab solutions

While work continues to produce clean energy, what we can do now is make better choices that are in line with sustainability goals. Partnered with My Green Lab, Agilent supports scientists in achieving their lab sustainability goals. Several Agilent instruments also carry My Green Lab certification.

The opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of labs through smarter purchases is tremendous. By procuring instruments and products that will reduce waste, reduce energy consumption, reduce solvent/consumable consumption, and last longer (reducing the need to buy and discard more instruments), laboratories can operate in a more environmentally sustainable way.

Speak to a consultant at Chemetrix to learn more about sustainable instruments with technology that can help your lab achieve its sustainability goals. View our products to learn more about technology that’ll save energy and other resources for a more efficient lab.


Chemetrix supports The Children’s Hospital Trust

According to Arrive Alive, 20 children are hospitalised due to trauma and bone injuries. In 2019, The Road Traffic Management Corporation also reported 45,000 children being hospitalised due to head, neck, and abdominal injuries. The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital treats many of these patients and Chemetrix is proud to support this organisation in its life-saving work.

On 23 September 2023, Chemetrix was able to make a donation to the Children’s Hospital Trust, with the support of our customers. These funds have been allocated to the Orthopaedic Unit Project at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. It will aid in the building of a new 30-bed Orthopaedic Unit to accommodate all ortho patients within one facility. The unit will give Orthopaedic patients a chance to regain their mobility and freedom of movement. Education and training for medical and para-medical services form part of these services.

The hospital remains the only specialised paediatric facility in the Western Cape, treating all little Orthopaedic patients. Through the new Orthopaedic Unit, patients will have access to the multidisciplinary team comprised of surgeons, physiotherapists, dieticians, and occupational therapists during one single visit – saving the parents both time and money.

Time was especially important for little Fayaad. He was hit by a motor vehicle while crossing the road with his father and it was a 13-minute drive from the scene of the accident to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Within half an hour of arriving, Fayaad was examined. He was able to go home within the same day following X-rays and a cast being fitted on his injured leg. Orthopaedic clinics at the hospital will ensure he will regain optimal use of his leg as he continues to grow.

Above chronic and hereditary bone abnormality treatments, the hospital also cares for acute trauma injuries. The specialised services and multidisciplinary care are aimed at helping these little ones go on to live healthier and normalised lives. For now and in the future, Chemetrix hopes that its contribution to the Orthopaedic Unit will bring the joy of movement and smiles back to many children.

Rapid Accurate Detection of Mitochondrial Toxicity

In cell analysis, real-time cell measurements provide a clear window into the critical functions driving cell signalling, proliferation, activation, toxicity and biosynthesis.

In this webinar, Dr. George Rogers discusses Agilent Seahorse technology and workflow advancements that enable simplified assessment of mitochondrial toxicity with high sensitivity and specificity. Points of discussion include the Mito Tox Index (MTI), a standardised parameter reflecting both the magnitude and mode of mitochondrial toxicity, as well as the applications of the Agilent Seahorse XF Mito Tox Assay solution, including examples with HepG2 cells and primary hepatocytes.



George W. Rogers, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Expert Bioassay Solutions, Cell Analysis Division
Agilent Technologies, Inc.


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Unlock your lab’s full potential with CrossLab Asset Monitoring

Managing the business of a lab is a whole other science and it’s time-consuming. Controlling costs, and budget and making sure the laboratory meets its business growth goals is a challenge.

The operational data you collect from your instruments is a valuable tool for improving many areas of performance. However, manually collecting sets of data and relying on paper-based aggregation will not give you a complete understanding of your lab efficiency and productivity.

Agilent CrossLab Asset Monitoring capabilities pull together advanced Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology and data analytics to enable lab-wide visibility. In this webinar, discover how to recognise the hidden costs of not collecting instrument usage data. It will also explore how to use lab-wide instrument data to make capital expense decisions, reduce operational expenses, and improve productivity. An important point of discussion will be how internet-of-things (IoT) technology is available today to help lab managers measure instrument usage. This webinar is ideal for Lab Operations Managers, Operations Directors or persons in Head of Operations roles.



Tim Baxter
Marketing Manager
CrossLab Connect Asset Monitoring
Agilent Technologies


Michael Farrell
Project Manager, Data Visualization and Insights
Agilent Technologies



Laura Bush
Editorial Director


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Sustainability Through Lab Optimisation

The average lab consumes more energy per square meter than many hospitals or other commercial buildings—the US EPA estimates that a 30% reduction in lab energy use in the United States translates to removing 1.3 million cars from highways per year. Now, imagine what that would mean for labs around the world.

Scientific labs are experiencing an increasing demand for greater efficiency and productivity and, at the same time, a strong desire to maximise sustainability from the organisation-wide level to daily operations. Combining new data intelligence technologies and better industry insight guidance allows for advancing lab operational efficiency through better asset utilisation and increased sustainability in the digital lab era.


Lab managers want sustainability and optimisation

The central premise for discussing sustainability and optimisation together is that a more efficient lab is a more sustainable one. Most lab managers are mindful of both sustainability and optimisation needs. A global survey of lab managers highlighted a strong desire to meet sustainability goals and remain conscious of sustainability in their daily operations.

Key takeaways from the survey included:

  • 68% of labs surveyed acknowledged that they require further work to improve sustainability.
  • The most common sustainability expectations from instrument vendors are to reduce emissions and energy consumption. 68% of the respondents expected instrument vendors to help them reduce emissions, while 58% expected a reduction in energy.
  • Increased efficiency and optimisation are also factors, with the most critical concern being speed as demand for higher sample throughput increases dramatically. The importance that lab leaders place on improving speed, optimisation, and efficiency was also highlighted in a pharmaceutical lab leaders survey.
  • Of those surveyed, 83% believed their workflows needed optimisation, and 63% would welcome innovations to increase efficiency.


Advanced asset control, digital analytics, and expert guidance

The opportunity for lab optimisation improvement is profound. On average, lab instruments are running only 35% of the time, and only 4% of labs employ data intelligence to ascertain fleet utilisation.

James Connelly, chief executive officer of My Green Lab agrees, “Lab equipment makes up a significant portion of the total plug load in any lab and can lead to high energy consumption. Optimisation of lab equipment through solutions such as asset performance management can dramatically lower the overall energy consumption and be a significant step toward achieving lab sustainability.”

A holistic method of assuring lab-wide optimisation and efficiency is required to address this gap effectively. A combination of advanced asset control, digital analytics, and expert guidance allows greater visibility and utilisation of all lab assets. Maximising the availability and utilisation of all assets will reduce a lab’s carbon footprint and enable more science to be done. Increasing operational efficiency and productivity positively impacts lab sustainability. Reducing energy consumption through increased efficiency is a win-win, especially for the environment.

Data intelligence systems with real-time sensing technology and interconnectivity provide better visibility into lab operations and help drive decisions. Gaining clarity on asset utilisation enables more informed decision-making that advances lab operations to new levels of efficiency and productivity—while increasing sustainability at the same time. Measuring asset utilisation opens the door to appropriate fleet right-sizing and technology refresh, resulting in higher throughput, less power consumption, a smaller workflow footprint, and redeployment of under-used or redundant instruments.


Connected labs reduce waste and increase productivity

Labs that are connected benefit from multiple efficiencies that bolster sustainability. Technologies such as smart alerts foster a proactive approach to instrument monitoring. Rather than reacting to an instrument breakdown, an interconnected lab with smart alert software will prevent it from happening in the first place. Interconnectivity also enables the ability to make data-driven decisions.

Interconnective technology can also increase instrument utilisation because it calculates how much science any particular instrument performs per square meter. Sustainability isn’t limited to the traditional ‘green’ metrics of waste and water— it is equally achieved through technology.

For example, having visibility of all instruments at once to produce an overall lab footprint from which adjustments can be made to make the lab more effective and efficient. Or not having to waste time performing duplicate runs because the smart alert system fires when the first doesn’t go through.


Go greener with asset monitoring

The process of lab optimisation involves integrating utilisation data with instrument service histories and end-of-guaranteed support to measure the instrument’s health. Understanding instrument utilisation and health can determine the optimal footprint and workflow composition.

A central operations strategy provides lab managers with profound insight into asset composition and health and the means to make data-driven decisions and optimise lab operations. The subsequent improvement of lab-wide efficiency not only increases the productivity of the laboratory as a whole but also lab sustainability by doing more science with less energy and resources. A win for both science and the environment.


This article is modified from content originally published by Agilent


Avoiding Common Time Traps in ICP-MS Analysis: A Virtual Workshop

Inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a fast, multielement technique used for trace elemental analysis.

But labs that use ICP-MS – or are thinking of installing one – can find it difficult to unlock the true potential of the technique. Unproductive and often unnecessary activities can eat into lab time, reducing productivity, increasing stress, and potentially impacting data quality. Open to all; this workshop will provide insights you can employ to improve efficiency in your laboratory while also reducing pressure on staff and increasing confidence in the results you report.



Bert Woods
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Joined the Agilent ICP-MS team in 2004, with previous employment in the semiconductor industry with Dominion Semiconductor (IBM/Toshiba) and Micron. Bert is a 1997 Chemistry graduate of Radford University in Virginia and an avid Washington DC Sports fan.


L. Craig Jones
ICP-MS Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Craig has been with Agilent for over 15 years as an ICP-MS applications scientist. He has been involved with multiple types of applications for ICP-MS, including environmental, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, semiconductor, geologic, and clinical analyses, to name a few. Previous to Agilent, he worked in an environmental lab performing analysis and supervising both the inorganic and organic sections of the laboratory. In his spare time, Craig enjoys volunteering at the local marine science centre, mountain biking, hiking and relaxing at the beach. Craig obtained a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO.


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The Efficiency and Cost Benefits of an Innovative UV-Vis Spectrophotometer

UV-Vis spectroscopy is a mature technology used to analyse, characterise, and quantify pharmaceutical and biological samples such as active pharmaceutical ingredients, DNA/RNA, and proteins for many decades. The use of UV-Vis has been limited by the workflow needed to make these measurements efficiently. The recent advances in UV-Vis spectroscopy focus on enhancing laboratory productivity, offering ease of use, and providing multiple accessories designed specifically for application needs.

Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical materials have become more sophisticated in life science research across fields (such as cancer research, drug development, vaccines, and quality control in regulated environments). The technology used for the analysis should evolve, too.

This webinar will highlight the benefit of the new Agilent Cary 3500 Flexible UV-Vis spectrophotometer and its capabilities in improving workflows in the pharmaceutical industry.



Geethika Weragoda
Application Scientist
Agilent Technologies, Australia


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Fueling Precision Medicine: From Sequence to Therapeutics

We are on the precipice of the next major shift in science as it relates to medicine. The 20th Century saw an explosion of technological advances that reshaped modern life completely. Today, the surge of discoveries and development continues particularly in biology. It is very possible that our counter arts in the future may look back on the 21st century as the Century of Biology.


A look at precision medicine

Precision medicine is the ability to understand and treat disease at a molecular level and it is driving revolutionary change in fields such as oncology. It aims to improve therapeutic outcomes by adding a previously missing but critical factor – the unique biology of the patient being incorporated into the treatment equation. This is done by including DNA sequence information.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Precision medicine, sometimes known as “personalised medicine” is an innovative approach to tailoring disease prevention and treatment that takes into account differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles. The goal of precision medicine is to target the right treatments to the right patients at the right time.”

Based on this foundation, one megatrend to keep an eye on is cellular manufacturing. This is the ability to reprogram cells for practical purposes and it is transforming industrial biotechnology. Many chemicals and materials traditionally produced through petrochemical processes are now the products of engineered biological cells. Cellular manufacturing also requires a deep understanding of cellular metabolism and pathway interdependencies which are being accelerated by the vast amount of metabolomic information becoming available through advancements in mass spectrometry.

Although mass spectrometry is not new, its application in the clinical realm is fairly recent by medical research standards. For over half a century, diagnostics relied on immunoassays but mass spectrometry is addressing many of the limitations of immunoassays and also becoming vitally important to precision medicine. The high accuracy and sensitivity of mass spectrometric analysis of proteomes are suited for the incorporation of proteomics into precision medicine. Mass spectrometry can provide an understanding of how a patient reacts and interacts with a drug. With new instruments now able to easily fit on a benchtop and deliver results accurately at remarkable speeds with lower costs, it’s become the perfect test for precision medicine patient management.


A key example of megatrend impact: Cardiovascular disease

Inroads are being made in the treatment of cardiovascular disease through sequencing of the PCSK9 gene where it was discovered that various mutations of this gene are associated with high low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol levels a factor in multiple diseases. The knowledge that this gene plays a role—that high LDL levels weren’t simply a matter of poor diet—has contributed to the development of inclisiran, a small or short interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic that acts to silence the PCSK9 gene and effect clinically significant reductions in LDL cholesterol levels. Sequencing and mass spectrometry are essential to identify which patients have mutations in the PCSK9 gene to identify candidates for inclisiran therapy.


The future: Predicting biology

The megatrends of precision medicine and cellular manufacturing share a common driver: the past 20 years have seen a marked shift in our ability to understand and characterise biology as a primarily qualitative science to one that is increasingly quantitative. This shift carries the promise of eventually allowing us to understand, model and predict biology in the same way that we are able to do in the physical sciences—an exceptionally complex proposition that lies beyond our current capabilities. At a fundamental level, as our capacity to understand and control biology at the molecular level deepens our understanding of disease fuels parallel advances in industrial biotechnology.

This article was originally published by Agilent and has been amended here.