Instrument Used: LCMS-8050, LCMS-8060
The following is from an interview with Kazuaki Shigefuji, Seika Sada, and Eri Inagaki of the Saika Technological Institute Foundation (SAIKA T.I.F). The SAIKA T.I.F is involved in two operations. One is a public non-profit operation and the other a private for-profit business. One of the for-profit business fields involves contract analysis services specializing in residual pesticide analysis. We asked about how they use their LCMS-8050 and LCMS-8060 systems, given the changing needs of the contract analysis market, and what they would like from Shimadzu.
Analysis Service Department
Seika Sada, Manager (center)
Eri Inagaki, Section Head (left)
Saika Technological Institute Foundation
Please tell us about the operations of your foundation?
Would you tell us more about each of those areas?
In the non-profit area, we are primarily involved in research and development, the results of which are commercialized as a business. We have capabilities for designing and developing machinery and software in-house, obtaining patents and promoting our technology. We also conduct activities that promote invention and creativity in an effort to train future inventors; these include conducting science events or awarding craftworks created as summer vacation homework problems for children from Wakayama Prefecture.
Another major non-profit activity involves the SHOKU-NO-SANJUMARU SELECTION. This activity promotes companies that use ingredients made in Japan and practice eco-friendly manufacturing methods by marking awarded products with a triple-circle symbol that consumers can use to instantly recognize safe and secure food products. We not only review documents, but also perform a strict scientific inspection for residual pesticides, radioactivity, or other factors, to strictly review and recognize products based on our own criteria. Even carefully made products can sometimes not receive the attention they deserve, so we hope our activities help provide a boost.
Products and services in our for-profit operations involve manufacturing and selling machinery and offering residual pesticide analysis services. Machinery manufactured and sold thus far include AGRI SENSOR and CITRUS SENSOR instruments that can non-destructively measure the sugar content and internal damage to apples, oranges, and other fruits and vegetables. In the past, agricultural products were only valued for their external appearance, but after the invention of this machine for analyzing the taste inside, selection criteria have been shifting toward being based on what the consumer thinks tastes good. In addition, our Metal Detector "METARIDDER" offers the industry's highest sensitivity for detecting and removing extremely small metal contaminants from plastic resin pellets and granules.
Ever since it was founded, Saika has been contributing to society through a wide variety of technical capabilities related to research and development.
In that sense, Saika's operations share important similarities to Shimadzu's corporate philosophy "Contributing to Society through Science and Technology."
Thank you for your valuable comments.
Do you mind if we ask you more about your residual pesticide contract analysis services?
What are some typical needs from your customers?
It must be extremely challenging to quickly analyze difficult samples, such as samples that contain a large number of contaminant components. Do you create or review analytical methods for each analysis?
What level of instrument performance do you require?
We need high sensitivity, for sure. To minimize the time and trouble involved, we like to simplify pretreatment as much as possible. If the detector is highly selective and highly sensitive, then we can simplify pretreatment and still obtain good results by diluting samples to avoid any effects from contaminant components, even if there are large amounts remaining in the sample. The other thing we need is maintenance frequency that is as low as possible. Performing maintenance means we have to stop our business during that period, so we want instruments that do not need to be cleaned frequently. Also, we need instruments with sensitivity that does not decrease as we are simultaneously analyzing multiple components.
What types of instruments do you currently use?
When we started out, we mainly used GC-MS systems, also in addition to GC and HPLC systems. In those days, GC-MS was required in order to achieve adequate sensitivity for qualitative analysis of pesticides. With the introduction of the triple quad GCMS-TQ8040 system, we can now detect even low concentrations in samples containing many contaminant components, which has been extremely helpful. Consequently, because analysis is less affected by contaminant components, we don't need to reanalyze samples as often, such as by using the NCI mode. Currently, we have three GC-MS/MS systems, which has resulted in more opportunities to analyze samples by GC-MS/MS right from the start. We now use GC-MS to analyze samples expected to contain few contaminant components.
With respect to LC-MS, performance of the instruments themselves was too low at the time we were starting out and we were also uncertain about interface selection, so we mainly used GC-MS. However, once triple quadrupole mass spectrometers with reliable performance became widely available, we have been gradually analyzing more and more items with LC-MS/MS. Currently, we use both systems, because neither system is capable of comprehensively analyzing all items.
Though you have used many Shimadzu instruments in the past, specifically why did you recently choose to purchase the GCMS-TQ8040, LCMS-8050, and LCMS-8060 systems?
The biggest reason is that we have a long history with Shimadzu, ever since we started our analysis department, and Shimadzu offers excellent support capabilities. Shimadzu responds immediately when we need repairs and support from the call center is also very good. If we receive customer samples for a rush order and our instruments break down, we will be in big trouble. However, even in such situations, Shimadzu comes immediately, which impresses me the most.
Another factor is that we can use the same software as for the single-quadrupole and other systems we have been using so far. We also appreciate the Smart Pesticides Database for the GC-MS/MS system and the Residual Pesticides Method Package for the LC-MS/MS system, which allowed us to start analysis immediately after installation. That type of software is very important for getting routine analysis up and running as soon as possible and for minimizing the trouble involved in setting up the condition settings for the extremely large number of components analyzed. To be honest, we were a little worried because we had never used a Shimadzu LC-MS/MS system before, but we were convinced it would be fine once we saw how good the data was from the LCMS-8050 system during the selection process. I think it also provides excellent value in terms of cost versus performance.
What is your impression from actually using the systems?
What is your impression of the LC unit in the LC-MS/MS system?
Lastly, please share any opinions or requests you may have regarding our instruments or Shimadzu.
Thank you for sharing your opinions. We will do our best to provide what you ask for.
Thank you again for providing your valuable time with us today.