We use the GERSTEL MultiPurpose Sampler, with its huge range of unique accessories, to automate the processing of your samples.

This gives seamless integration with Agilent Technologies’ GC and GC-MS platforms and Syft Technologies' SIFT-MS instruments.
If you are involved in analytical R&D, you just don’t know where your research will lead, or what you may have to do tomorrow.

For sample preparation, automation may well be important to you and you will certainly benefit from the great flexibility the GERSTEL MultiFlex MPS gives you.
AutoPrep solutions, based upon the GERSTEL MPS are built with three things in mind: dependability, throughput and low consumable costs.

All have been tested in our laboratory and come with unlimited application support.
SIFT-MS joins GC-MS and LC-MS as one of the three essential tools that every analytical chemist should have.

SIFT-MS measures the concentrations of volatile substances (organic and inorganic) simply, directly and in real time.
The CF200 Robotic Centrifuge is capable, compact and integrates full with the GERSTEL MultiPurpose Sampler.

The CF200 can process up to six samples simultaneously for maximum productivity.
Anatune knows the importance of excellent support.

From your perspective, anything that stops you from working efficiently is a problem.

We aim to have a fix - whatever is getting in your way!

Our applications team have years of experience gained by working in analytical laboratories of all types.

They know the instruments we sell inside out and will find sensible solutions to to the analytical challenges you face.
Training is an investment and you can never have too much of it!

When your staff are well trained in the operation of an instrument, your return on investment is at its highest.

We are here to help this happen.
We offer preventative maintenance to keep your instruments working and a fast response if they stop.

Our support engineers are all experienced analysts and factory trained to support our products.
There are times when it is good to be able to call on some extra help or advice.

If you have a problem, we are always pleased to help.

Help Credits let you plan for when the unforeseen happens.
Search for and download brochures, application notes, presentations and posters.
Download PDF copies of product literature for the products we sell.
Search here for recent application notes from Anatune and our partners.
Download copies of recent presentations given by the Anatune team.
Here you can download copies of recent posters presented by the Anatune team and our partners.
We like to share our knowledge and expertise.

Become part of Anatune's growing online community and see what you can learn.

Subscribe to our blog and social media channels to keep abreast of the latest news, events and application notes.
We regularly run in-house workhops so customers can experience what we do first hand.

Find out more about our upcoming events.
We organise our own events and attend many others.

We love to talk with our customers face-to-face so, if you are attending an event, let us know and we can arrange to meet.
Let us keep you up-to-date with all the latest and greatest in the wonderful World of chromatography and mass spectrometry
Read our Blog!
Who we are, what we do and what we believe is important.

How you can become a member of the team.
We have built strong, long-term relationships with customers resulting in repeat business and an unbeatable reputation for reliability and trust.

Here's what they say about us...
Our first priority is to maintain a great team spirit and we only employ people with great attitudes.

We believe in continual learning and personal development. We train our staff well.

Find out more about them here.
Our role is to bring the World's best analytical technologies to laboratories in the UK and Ireland.

We do this in partnership with some great companies.
We are always on the look out for talent.

Find out more about current vacancies and careers at Anatune

Volatile Biomarkers in Biomedical Research

Why are Volatile Biomarkers Important in Biomedical Research?

The pattern of individual’s volatile metabolites (volatolome) can be used to understand the biochemical processes associated with metabolism and disease.

An individual’s volatolome changes, both at the cellular and tissue level and within their microbiome, as a result of endogenous and exogenous stimuli.  Such changes are observed in cancer, infection, auto-immune and inflammatory disease, metabolic disease, infection and pathogenesis, environmental pollution, surgery, medication, lifestyle and nutrition.

Volatile compounds are present in breath, bio-fluids & secretions, stools and tissue samples and consistent, clinically diagnostic profile changes may be detected at the earliest stages of disease.  These changes can facilitate minimally invasive (breath, saliva, urine, stools) diagnosis and early treatment, improve both prognosis and patient outcomes and reduce costs to the healthcare system.

Furthermore, since volatile compounds in perfused tissues are transported throughout the bloodstream, and blood gases are in equilibrium with the (alveolar) portion of the breath, they may be used as diagnostic biomarkers of localised disease in tissues or organs.

Consequently, both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and inorganic gases may be used as diagnostic disease biomarkers, to monitor individual patient responses to treatment (including therapy selection and stratification), compliance with medication regimes and aid with differential diagnosis (e.g. between cancer types and stages).

Current Tests Using Volatile Biomarkers

There have been many biomedical research studies demonstrating that volatile compounds can be selective and specific biomarkers for disease diagnosis and many clinical trials have either been done or in progress.

The FDA has however, only approved three diagnostic breath tests in the last 20 years:

  • Breath hydrocarbons to monitor for heart transplant rejection
  • Urea breath test for H.pylori infection
  • NO test for asthma therapy

The successful development of these tests is the result of several common factors:

  • Single (individual or class) biomarker of disease
  • Point-of-care sampling (or testing) by healthcare staff with minimal additional training
  • Biomarkers can either be tested with low cost point-of-care diagnostic device or are stable for transport for laboratory analysis
  • Test is clinically selective and specific for (differential) diagnosis of disease
  • Test provides earlier disease diagnosis and/or improved patient outcomes than the previous test

Challenges in Volatile Biomarker Analysis

The main advantage of using volatile biomarkers lies in the fact that samples can be obtained from patients of all ages (neonates to geriatric patients) and conditions (mobile outpatient to ventilated in-patient).

The nature of volatile compounds in biological samples present several unique challenges in the field of biomarker discovery and validation including:

  • Volatile profiles respond rapidly to physiological or environmental stimuli
  • Volatile metabolites are trace components, ppm(v) to ppt(v), in high humidity matrices
  • Contamination with exogenous (dietary or environmental) VOCs is a problem
  • For breath samples the alveolar (in equilibrium with blood) fraction of the breath is normally sampled
  • Many volatile metabolites are reactive species (e.g. carbonyl compounds) exhibiting limited stability or low/differential recoveries from sampling devices
  • There are few single, specific volatile biomarkers which are best suited to point of care or home testing
  • Clinically relevant differences are normally observed as a change in the pattern (fingerprint) of volatile metabolites
  • Sample pre-concentration (e.g. on adsorbent tubes) is required for GC-MS analysis.

Many of these challenges are met through the routine standardisation applied to clinical studies to ensure that study results are not biased however, additional precautions such as ensuring subjects are relaxed, breathing normally and acclimatised to humidified medical grade air before samples may be required, especially for breath sampling studies.

In clinical studies exogenous contaminants can be managed through the study design, the parallel collection of procedural blanks or by acclimatising subjects with humidified medical grade air before sampling.  Common environmental contaminants are, naturally, excluded as candidate biomarkers.

Representative sampling can be done for most sample types using standard protocols and specimen tubes.  For tissue, stool and adsorbed breath samples, temperature controlled transport and storage are essential to manage sample stability.

For breath sampling specialist collection devises, (such as that developed by the Breath Free Consortium), are used to sample and concentrate volatile metabolites onto (single or multiple) adsorbent tubes for subsequent GC-MS analysis.

With real-time instrumental analysis (e.g. SIFT-MS) direct sampling may be done using spirometers or samples may be collected in specimen containers (Gas Sampling bags, Exetainer® tubes, Thermal Desorption (TD) tubes) for offline analysis.

What are the Current Approaches?

Clincial biomarker studies, using LC-MS, typically use different analytical platforms and approaches in the biomarker discovery and verification/validation stages: with dual (LC-MS & NMR) or multi- (LC-MS, NMR, GC-MS) platform studies to cross validate the results.

For most volatile biomarker studies, untargeted volatile biomarker discovery is normally done by TD-GC-MS for breath samples, and headspace Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (HS-SPME) for other biological samples.

Whilst many studies repeat GC-MS on a larger scale at the validation/verification stage, relatively few include parallel targeted analysis with a real-time platforms such as Selected Ion Flow Tube – Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) or Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS).

This is largely because the widespread adoption of these techniques has been limited by the lack of commercially available instruments that combine a wide dynamic range, analytical selectivity, specificity, sensitivity and resolution and are also capable of quantitatively determining trace level VOCs in high humidity samples.

How Are Anatune Solutions Different?

Following on from last year’s Seminar on the Analysis of Biomarkers in Breath and Body Fluids by SIFT-MS, we actively engaged with the Breath and Volatile Biomarker research community in the UK.

Having taken the time to listen, we identified a ‘wish list’ of features for volatile biomarker analysis platforms that includes:

  • Flexibility to sample from a range of sampling ‘devices’:
    • 3½ x ¼” stainless steel Thermal Desorption tubes
    • Gas sampling bags
    • Exetainer® tubes
    • Commercially available specimen tubes (blood, urine)
  • Dynamic Headspace (DHS) for comprehensive volatile profiling from bio-fluids, tissues and microbial/cell cultures
  • Temperature controlled sample storage to maintain sample integrity
  • Multi-format barcode reading for traceability and sample tracking
  • High capacity Thermal Desorption (>100 samples) for large scale clinical studies
  • Integrated software tools for processing and interpreting volatolomics data
  • Automate analysis of samples by SIFT-MS
  • Common, scalable platforms that can grow as research translates from biomarker discovery to verification and validation
  • We’re aiming for a home test of point-of-care diagnostic device but need the backup of a routine lab test at price that the NHS/NICE can afford.

We recently completed the kit list for our toolbox and can now fulfil the complete wish list with the new GERSTEL MultiPurpose Sampler MPS Robotic Series.

If you would like to learn more about our Enabling Technology solutions for metabolic phenotyping of volatiles then please call us on 01223 279210 or email enquiries@anatune.co.uk now.

Go back to Blog Homepage