Celebrating 50 Years of MS Innovation - User interviews May 2020

On the occasion of Shimadzu's 50th year of producing mass spectrometry instruments, we talk to researchers using Shimadzu MS instruments in their daily work and ask about their expectations for Shimadzu and the future of MS technology.

Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Erich Leitner

Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Erich Leitner
Head of the Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Food Chemistry, Graz University of Technology

Main field of study:
The quality of food and food contact materials, including odor active compounds (in a positive or in a negative way e.g. off odors) but also substances of (toxicological) concern.

1. How did you become familiar with Shimadzu?

A Shimadzu sales representative contacted me years ago and asked if I was interested in trying their instruments. I followed an invitation to the application lab in Duisburg and I extensively tested several different combinations specifically tailor-made for my needs. That finally convinced me and I decided to switch to Shimadzu instruments.

2. What is your main field of research, and how are you utilizing Shimadzu equipment?

My whole research career is dedicated to gas-chromatography-based methods. I started almost forty years ago with environmental analysis, mainly in the field of dioxin analysis. Later on I moved my focus to food analysis and odor active compounds, which is still one of my core competencies. A couple of years later I expanded the research target to food contact materials and also to substances of concern like mineral oil residues. However, over all this time, I was and I am still using GC-based methods. Shimadzu offers quite a broad range of different instruments including one- and two-dimensional separation and different ionization techniques as well as tandem MS. I am going for ultra trace analysis that demands high sensitivity and also high selectivity.

3. What are your reasons for choosing Shimadzu equipment?

Shimadzu offers a huge range of instruments fit for my purpose. Also, I appreciate the customer support for individual solutions. After several decades of experience, I have to confess that there is no one instrument available which can fulfill all my expectations. So sometimes you need additional instrumentation. To verify the options Shimadzu offers massive support in their demo lab in the European HQ where you can “play” with different configurations.

4. What trends are you seeing in your field with regards to the use of mass spectrometry?

The analytical world is getting more complex every day. The number of target analytes is steadily increasing while the concentrations are decreasing. So, there is a strong need for methods, and instruments with high sensitivity and selectivity are essential for method development. On the other hand, I see a trend in miniaturization in many analytical applications. Maybe we will see a handheld MS tool for your smartphone.

5. What are your expectations for Shimadzu and for MS technology in general in the future?

MS technology is one of the key technologies I use in my daily work. Out of all the instruments I am using, high resolution MS in combination with gas chromatography is still missing. This is definitely the one I would like to see in the product range of Shimadzu.

Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Erich Leitner

Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Erich Leitner