Breaking Through the EPH Fractionation Bottleneck with Automation and Multiple Cartridge Formats

Operational Issues Impacting the Environmental Laboratory Industry (Session 2)
Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Ebitson
Biotage, 16 Northwestern rd, Salem, NH, 03079, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 603-386-3640


In today’s environmental laboratories there are many methods and techniques being used in sample preparation. One technique-driven method that has been described as a bottleneck is the fractionation of Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbons (EPH) in water and soil extracts. This method recommends using 5g, 20 mL silica gel cartridges to separate the aliphatic and aromatic compounds from the sample extract to be analyzed by GC-FID.

As laboratory challenges grow with increased samples loads, turnover of personnel while taking in highly concentrated water and soil matrices for extraction, it can be challenging to streamline the fractionation workflow. With such hurdles it often results in having to refractionate the sample and or entire batch, creating a bottleneck in sample throughput.

This work will demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of EPH cartridges in multiple formats and fractionation platforms. This work will highlight how the workflows can help laboratories overcome this bottleneck with consistency and quality by utilizing batch type processing with automation while demonstrating how cross-contamination is eliminated.