The assignee for this patent, patent number 8741134, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to fractionating/collecting devices for fractionating and collecting a separated sample component in a liquid chromatograph, hereinafter also referred to as LC, performing separation analysis of a solution sample.
"An effluent from a liquid chromatograph is fractionated and collected, and further analyzed in the liquid chromatograph or other analyzing devices such as a mass spectrograph (MS). There a fractionating/collecting device for collecting onto a sample container such as a microplate is used.
"One example of the mass spectrograph for analyzing the effluent from the liquid chromatograph is a Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOFMS). In the MALDI-TOFMS, when fractionating and collecting sample components separated in the liquid chromatograph on the MALDI-TOFMS analyzing plate using the fractionating/collecting device, the sample components are collected at a number of sites on a single plate. After the collecting process is completed, the plate is manually moved to the MALDI-TOFMS device for analysis.
"As only one or two collecting plates can be used in the conventional fractionating/collecting devices, not many analyzing samples can be prepared at night without any workers present, for example, for such MALDI-TOFMS analysis.
"Other analyzing methods for analyzing the effluent from the liquid chromatograph includes an LC for performing separation analysis through multiple stages, which include fractionating and collecting the sample component separated in the LC of the first stage with the fractionating/collecting device, and analyzing the collected sample component in the LC of the second stage after processing. In the analysis of protein, for example, in order to further analyze the protein separated in the LC, a digestive enzyme is manually added to the divided and collected sample component of the protein for decomposing to peptide, the peptide being further separated in another LC for analyzing in the MS, and analysis is carried out on the obtained MS data.
"In the two-step separation task in the LC, manual tasks such as adding the digestive enzyme take a long time. Therefore, a liquid handler capable of fractionating/collecting and dispensing is used for automatically carrying out the task. Normally in the liquid handler, its probe moves to a fractionating/collecting position of the LC in the first stage to suck in the collected component, and then moves to an injection port in the LC of the second stage to inject the sucked component. Thus, the space in the probe is large, which is disadvantageous especially when a micro LC, for example, is used on the fractionating/collecting side to handle very small amounts of sample."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, NewsRx editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The first object of the present invention is to propose a fractionating/collecting device capable of collecting samples on a number of sample containers.
"The second object of the present invention is to further propose a fractionating/collecting device capable of shortening time and saving labor in handling the fractionated components between the first and second stages in a LC and which is capable of analyzing a small amount of fractionated component.
"The fractionating/collecting device according to the present invention for achieving the first object comprises a fractionating/collecting mechanism for dropping and collecting an effluent from a liquid chromatograph to a sample container from a nozzle, a storage part for storing a number of sample containers, and a carrying mechanism comprising a vertical moving mechanism and a horizontal moving mechanism for both carrying and positioning the sample container to an arbitrary position under the nozzle.
"In one aspect of the fractionating/collecting device of the present invention, multiple samples to be analyzed can be prepared since sample collecting can be carried out on a number of sample containers and the sample containers can be stored by providing the storage part for storing a number of sample containers and by configuring the carrying mechanism so as to rotate within a range of the device and to move freely in the vertical and horizontal directions. Furthermore, the carrying mechanism is also used to position the sample container during collecting, and thus the device can be inexpensively realized.
"Continuous analysis can also be carried out by combining the conventional fractionating/collecting device and a multi-purpose robot arm. However, in comparison with a device of the present invention, such robot arm does not only require to be a two-system robot arm which includes a carrying mechanism for carrying the plate and a collection aiding mechanism for positioning the plate so that a sample liquid is dropped onto an appropriate position on the plate under the nozzle dropping the effluent from the LC, but also requires a large area to install the robot arm.
"If the nozzle is configured so that the effluent from the liquid chromatograph and a liquid from another liquid supplying part are simultaneously dropped a matrix liquid, for example, and the effluent from the liquid chromatograph may be simultaneously dropped to form the device for preparing a sample for MALDI-TOFMS exclusively.
"If the nozzle is configured so that either the effluent from the liquid chromatograph or a liquid from another liquid supplying part is selectively dropped only the effluent from the liquid chromatograph, for example, may be dropped, and a desired liquid such as matrix liquid or digestive fluid may be subsequently selectively dropped to form a multipurpose sample preparing device.
"If the carrying mechanism is configured to be able to carry the sample container, in which sample collecting is completed, to a predetermined position out of the fractionating/collecting device, the sample container can not only be stored within the storage part but can also be automatically loaded to an analyzing device.
"If an outlet for discharging gas in the direction of the tip portion of the nozzle is provided at the periphery of the tip portion of the nozzle, it can prevent liquid from remaining at the tip portion of the nozzle.
"When a sample fraction dropped onto the plate is dried and crystallized, crystallization will not be even if the moisture content within the collecting device under analyzing process changes. A port for exhausting gas provided in the vicinity of the nozzle can stabilize drying of the fraction.
"A fractionating/collecting device of the present invention for achieving the second object comprises a fractionating/collecting mechanism for dropping an effluent from liquid chromatograph to a sample container with a nozzle, a carrying mechanism comprising a vertical moving mechanism and a horizontal moving mechanism for both carrying and positioning the sample container to an arbitrary position under the nozzle, a sample container storage part provided within a movable range of the sample container by the carrying mechanism for storing a number of sample containers, and a suction/injection mechanism provided within a movable range of the sample container by the carrying mechanism for sucking in a sample in the sample container and injecting the sucked sample to another LC.
"In another aspect of the present invention, as the fractionating/collecting device comprises a carrying mechanism for carrying and positioning the sample container, and the mechanism for carrying out suction and injection of samples for LC in the next stage within the movable range of the sample container, the LC provided with such fractionating/collecting device can carry out multi-stage chromatograph separation without any manual aid inexpensively and automatically. Furthermore, automatization increases the rate of operation.
"As the movable range of the suction/injection mechanism can be restricted by moving the sample container, dead space in the nozzle mechanism of the suction/injection mechanism can be decreased and very small amounts of fraction component can be handled.
"The fractionating/collecting device of an open space type (non-closed configuration) has a risk of allowing a condensed water into the sample container when, for example, the sample is being cooled down and thus it is not an ideal condition. If the fractionating/collecting mechanism, the carrying mechanism, the sample container storage part, and the suction/injection mechanism are stored within a sealed space provided with a temperature control mechanism, it is advantageous for preventing condensation when the sample is being cooled down.
"If the nozzle for dropping the effluent from the LC is connected to a liquid supplying part for dropping another liquid, for example, an additive liquid such as digestive fluid simultaneously with the drop of the effluent, a device used exclusively for sample preparation to re-separate the fractionated/collected sample can be obtained.
"If the nozzle for dropping the effluent from the LC is connected to a liquid supplying part for arbitrary selecting and dropping another liquid at a different timing with the drop of the effluent, a multipurpose sample preparation device for adding an arbitrary additive liquid to the fractionated/collected sample can be obtained.
"Other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrating by way of example the principles of the invention."
For more information, see this patent:
Keywords for this news article include: Robotics, Machine Learning,
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