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Anyone who works in a laboratory knows the importance of quality samples. Without quality samples, the lab would struggle to produce accurate data and conclusions, and thus lose credibility. Collecting samples is often the most time-consuming part of conducting experiments. Each analytical instrument and method vary in its sample preparation process. We’re going to focus on chromatography. Read the following guide for more information regarding sample preparation for chromatography.

The General Sample Analysis Workflow

To fully understand sample preparation, it’s vital to first understand the analysis workflow. While some labs may vary from this workflow, the fundamental workflow is as follows: sample collection, sample transportation, sample preparation, sample analysis, and data and report generation. Labs cannot perform experiments without their samples, but collecting said samples can be a feat on its own. Additionally, many labs must transport the sample to their facility, which is risky because the sample could get damaged in the process.

Sample Transportation and Preparation

To reiterate, laboratories need top-quality samples. In order to receive samples, lab officials must ensure they’re receiving raw samples from a reliable source. Any and all tampering with the sample can significantly affect the analysis. Once the lab knows they have a quality sample source, they can proceed with safely transporting the sample. Many labs choose air-tight containers to transport samples, and rightfully so. Once the sample arrives at the facility, lab technicians must be careful when handling the sample prior to analysis, as they could contaminate it.

Although much of the analysis process is automated, preparing samples is manual. Depending on whether the sample is a solid or liquid, there may be additional steps required before analysis. For instance, lab techs typically need to liquefy a solid sample before they can begin analyzing. Unsurprisingly, the preparation and analysis process varies greatly depending on the desired outcome.

Most laboratories follow the general sample preparation steps for chromatography that we discussed previously. That said, your lab might be different, and that’s still okay. What’s important is that you’re consistent and have your process down.

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