Instrument Used: Nexera X2
API Co., Ltd. manufactures, sells, researches, and develops bee products, such as honey, royal jelly, and propolis products. In addition, API is involved in developing other businesses, such as manufacturing health foods and pharmaceuticals, and supplying raw materials for such products, on a contract basis. This article is based on an interview with a user at API's Nagaragawa Research Center that uses a Nexera X2 ultra high performance liquid chromatograph.
Chief, Analytical Chemistry Group, Nagaragawa Research Center
API Co., Ltd.
What was the background, motivation, and key selection criteria for purchasing the Nexera X2 ultra high performance liquid chromatograph for food analysis?
Well, we needed an LC system able to achieve high resolution. Because our samples come from nature, they contain large amounts of contaminant components, in addition to the principal components. Therefore, we need to separate the principal components with high reproducibility. For example, in some cases, we need to separate a specific component from 1000 other components contained in the sample. Consequently, the most important criteria were high sensitivity and high resolution.
The ability to analyze samples with high resolution is more important than that with ultra-high speed. Is that right?
I suppose that approach also provides higher resolution, doesn't it?
UHPLC systems tend to have a reputation for only being suitable for experts. However, due to the high basic performance of the Nexera X2, I think it is well suited to even inexperienced operators. That's because it simultaneously offers both high speed and high reproducibility.
Thank you so much. In the past, UHPLC had a reputation for being fast, but not very good in terms of resolution and reproducibility. The Nexera series represents the development team's unified effort to create a UHPLC system that does not sacrifice basic performance.
We also needed the automatic pretreatment functionality of the autosampler. We considered using derivatization analysis with fluorescence detection for high-sensitivity analysis of substances in the brain, amino acids, and so on. The automatic pretreatment functionality also enables operators to create calibration curves automatically, which reduces the amount of work required by operators during quantitative analysis.
For what types of work do you use the Shimadzu HPLC system?
In actual practice, what types of samples do you typically analyze?
In terms of the form of samples, we test liquid ingredients, freeze-dried and other powdered ingredients, soft and hard capsule formulations, drink formulations, and so on.
What is your impression of the Nexera X2 system after using it in actual operations?
We can now obtain chromatograms comparable to those from existing HPLC systems in one fourth the time. We use it for about 3000 to 4000 injections per year, including for method scouting and routine analysis.
Due to the high reproducibility, we have been obtaining very reliable analytical results. Day-to-day differences in retention times and quantitation values from quantitative analysis have been within 1 %. This has been especially beneficial for gel permeation chromatography (GPC) analysis, where a 0.01 minute retention time difference can have a major effect on molecular weight. Consequently, we are able to prepare reports with confidence.
In addition, the baseline is very stable, especially for analysis at high wavelengths. We also often analyze pigments; the Nexera X2 provides a more stable baseline and higher sensitivity in the 400 to 800 nm wavelength range than LC products from other companies. The difference from competing products is especially apparent during absorption testing, when sensitivity is particularly crucial.
The large column oven accommodates a wide range of column sizes, heats up quickly, and maintains very stable temperatures.
So you say that columns are easy to install and that the oven provides a sense of security that columns won't leak during analysis?
Another benefit is the ability to reduce the quantity of solvents used.
If you use the system daily, as you say, then product robustness is also important, isn't it?
When we were considering whether to purchase the Nexera X2 system, the distributor strongly recommended it. Also, the feedback from other sites with the Nexera X2 was that it does not break down and that service support is excellent. Another big factor was that our Shimadzu Prominence system has not failed in over ten years.
What do you think about the service support we have provided since you purchased the system?
Do you have any comments or requests regarding the Nexera X2 that you'd like to share?
In terms of our requests for the product, we would prefer that the system had a pH resistance up to pH 12. In actual practice, it is extremely rare for us to use highly alkaline mobile phases, but it would be nice if the system could be rinsed with an alkaline solution after protein-based analysis.
We also wish you would develop a column with a good S/N ratio, and we want a column that retains water-soluble components, such as organic acids and amino acids.
Column performance is still important for obtaining beautiful chromatograms with clearly separated target components. I am hoping Shimadzu will develop a resolution column based on the ghost trap technology they recommended.
Do you have any particular expectations for Shimadzu products?
Thank you for providing your valuable time with us today.
Comments About the Interview
Nexera X2 Ultra High
Performance Liquid Chromatograph
We hope others in the food industry will experience the high-quality, high-speed, and high-resolution analytical performance of the Nexera X2 for themselves.
In this interview, we also received comments about developing new products, including columns, based on the keyword "beautiful chromatogram." We are committed to supplying products that provide high-quality data and to following up with superior service support.