What is wet chemical analysis?

Automated wet chemistry analyzers

Wet chemistry, also called bench chemistry or wet chemical analysis, is a form of analytical chemistry that uses methods, such as colorimetry, gravimetry and titration to analyze elements and compounds in liquid samples. Analytical chemistry has developed exponentially in last three decades, still the wet chemical analysis is an integral part of the modern analytical chemistry lab because the wet chemical methods are proven and less expensive. Often, modern instrumentation cannot determine results which many specific wet chemical tests provide. Wet chemistry instruments includes, pH/conductivity/ion meter, automated titrator, colorimeter, turbidity meter, spectrophotometer and Flow Injection Analyzer (FIA) or Segmented Flow Analyzers (SFA) or Continuous Flow Analyzer (CFA).

Wet analysis methods

Well established and selective colorimetric measurements are used in several automated analyses. Based on how the sample is mixed with the coloring reagents they are classified as Flow Injection Analyzer (FIA) or Flow Analyzer, Continuous Flow Analyzer (CFA) or CFA Analyzer, Segmented Flow Analyzer (SFA) or Continuous Segmented Flow Analyzer or Autoanalyzer. Discrete Analyzer: an automated wet chemical analyzer in which the instrument performs tests on samples that are kept in discrete cells in contrast to a continuous flow analyzer.

These traditional wet chemical methods can be labor intensive and time-consuming. Additionally, common wet chemical methods are only applicable to specific individual parameters. Testing for multiple parameters, therefore, requires multiple techniques and instruments, resulting in long hands-on sample and response times, reduced throughput and increased per-analysis costs. What’s more, significant investment in ongoing staff training and instrument maintenance is also required.

However, innovative discrete analyzers offer a different approach: one that is automated, streamlined and more cost-effective.

Thermo Scientific Gallery discrete analyzer with ready-to-use system reagents are optimized for speed, flexibility, and precision for wine, beer, malt, beverages, enzymes, soil, process water, ground water, waste water and drinking water, analysis, that enables improved quality control through consolidated testing.

Automated discrete analyzers utilize colorimetric and enzymatic measurements of several analytes simultaneously from a single sample through photometric analysis. The discrete analyzer mimics the operation sequence of lab chemists such as dispense sample, mixing reagent, waiting for the reaction to complete, followed by photometric measurement, to provide fast and reproducible results. Discrete analyzers consist of three components, a Photometer with specific number of filter positions, dispensing probes, an incubator to control the reaction temperature, a mixer. In discrete analysis, each individual reaction cell is isolated, and temperature is stabilized, enabling highly controlled reaction conditions.

How automated Discrete Analyzer works

After the reagents and samples are prepared, they are loaded onto the instrument and the probes dispense fixed amounts of reagents and samples into the individual cuvettes. Next, the individual cuvettes are loaded into the incubation chamber, samples and reagents dispensed to the individual cuvettes and then mixed, and finally undergo photometric detection depending on the absorbance of specific wavelengths of light. Each measurement is done using single discrete cuvettes. These data are then interpreted through integrated software platforms.

Advanced discrete analyzers use disposable cuvettes that eliminates the carry over effect and reduces the reagent consumption substantially. Number of wet chemical parameter a discrete analyzer can perform is limited by the number of filter positions and the wavelength range.

Discrete analyzer consolidates and simultaneously tests for up to 20 different wet chemical parameters — using a single instrument with a single operator. Discrete analyzer, with miniaturized components and unique low-volume cuvette design, accommodates small reagent volumes, minimizes reagent waste, and as a result, reduces analysis cost.

Why operate multiple analyzers, when you can do all your essential testing with one? Thermo Scientific™ Gallery™ and Gallery™ Plus discrete analyzers are easy to use, automated systems that allow laboratories to simplify their testing with the dual benefits of time and cost savings. All necessary analysis steps are automated, providing true walk-away time for the operator. It is a fully integrated walkaway solution: the testing workflow is easy to learn, and can be left unattended, improving throughput, system uptime and staff productivity. Gallery and Gallery Plus discrete analyzers automate manual wet chemistry methods, photometric (colorimetric and enzymatic), and electrochemical (pH and conductivity) analysis, mimicking the operation of lab chemists, to provide fast, reproducible results in a compact design.

While traditional analysis requires multiple wet chemistry methods and, therefore, multiple samples, the Gallery discrete analyzer consumes a maximum of 300 μL of sample per test, can test for up to 20 parameters per sample, and runs up to 200 tests per hour. As a result, the cost per analysis is 10 to 20 times less than traditional wet chemistry methods.

FeaturesGallery/Gallery Plus discrete analyzersFIA/SFA/CFA
Instrument typeFully integrated discrete analyzerOpen and modular type
Operator skill levelLowAdvanced
Number of measuring channelsFreely selectable 12 filter positions (channels)Maximum 4-6 channels; Need two 2 to 3 instruments to match channel capabilities
Sample sequenceRandom access — parallel and batch: sample can be loaded for several tests while a calibration for another is being processedMedium to high; impacts results reliability; requires intense maintenance to minimize carryover
Cross contaminationMinimal — discrete, fully disposable reaction cellsMedium to high; Impacts results reliability; requires intense maintenance to minimize carryover
Method stabilityVery high; long calibration stability and reproducible resultsLow; detector signal drifts; adjust data due to baseline drift throughout a batch run
Reagent deliveryFully automated micro liquid handling; robust systemPeristaltic pump; requires frequent maintenance
Number of tests/hr200-35060-120
Number of chemical parameters/sampleUp to 20 different chemical parameters for a sampleTypically, from 2 to 5; limited by number of channels
Reagent consumptionVery low (μL) Typically <100 μLLarge (mL) 8-10 mL
Instrument startup time<5 minutes15-45 minutes
Change over time between chemistriesNone15-30 minutes
Sensitivityppbppb
Source lampLong life Xenon; savings on consumable cost over the instrument lifetimeTungsten. Requires frequent change
Number of reagents addition per testsMaximum four + a matrix matching reagent; easy to transfer FIA, SFA or CFA methodsTypically 2 reagent additions per test
ReagentsReady to use system reagents kits or in-house reagentsIn-house reagents
pH & conductivityElectrochemical Unit (ECM) moduleAdditional 2 channels

What is a flow injection analyzer?

A typical Flow Injection Analyzer (FIA), Continuous Flow Analyzer (CFA), or Continuous Segmented Flow Analyzer (SFA) system consists of an Autosampler, a peristaltic pump, a chemistry manifold, a photometric detector and data acquisition software. This setup is commonly referred as a channel or chemistry manifold. The number of wet chemical parameters a flow analyzer can handle is limited by the number of channel or chemistry manifold.

What are the advantages of FIA, SFA, and CFA over discrete analyzers?

Flow analyzers are ideal when a larger number of samples are to be analyzed for a smaller number of chemistries. Continuous Flow Injection analyzers, being modular, can add additional sample preparation blocks for difficult sample matrices. Some of the FIA, SFA, and CFAs can perform inline heating, distillation, dialysis, filtration and digestion. Users could change the measuring pathlength to enhance detection limits.

What are the advantages of discrete analyzers overflow injection or Segmented Flow analyzers?

Major advantages discrete analyzer over FIA or SFA are the number of parameters per sample that a discrete analyzer can test, lowest reagent and sample consumption, lower cost per analysis, very low or No carry over, easy to use and maintain, stable calibration and walkaway solution.

A specific channel or manifold requirement limits the number of wet chemical parameters a FIA or SFA or CFA can test per sample. Increasing number of channels increases the cost of the equipment proportionately. Thermo Scientific Gallery discrete analyzers, have 12 filter position, equivalent to 12 Channels in Flow injection analyzer, allows up to 20 different wet chemical parameters per sample to be tested.

What are the advantages of discrete analyzers overflow injection or Segmented Flow analyzers?

What is better for automating wet chemical analysis?

If a laboratory is looking for an easy to use high throughput, expandable, multiparameter, wet chemistry analyzer for large numbers of samples, then integrated discrete analyzers are better suited than any type of flow analyzers. If your lab still relies on traditional flow injection analysis or segmented flow analysis, the benefits of high throughput, multi-parameter analysis are within reach. With Gallery and Gallery Plus discrete analyzers, you can put the power of technology to work for you— helping you deliver more results in less time. Our technical specialist can help transfer your existing photometric or FIA method to Gallery platform to ensure complete success.

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Discrete analyzer products

The Thermo Scientific Gallery Discrete Analyzer provides an integrated platform for photometric and electrochemical analyses, which can be run in parallel. Discrete cell technology allows for simultaneous measurement of several different tests for the same sample, eliminating method changeover time. Each individual reaction cell is isolated and temperature-stabilized, thus providing highly controlled reaction conditions. The Gallery discrete analyzer is able to achieve very low detection levels, and its sophisticated dilution features help to manage a wide concentration range without user intervention.

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Gallery discrete analyzers automate labor-intensive and time-consuming malt, beer, wine, juice, industrial water and waste water testing in compliance with several regulatory methods ISO, AOAC, ASBC, OIV, IDF. The Gallery Discrete analyzers are ideal for environmental, industrial, agricultural, oceanographic laboratories analyzing a wide variety of water sample types and matrices. Typical application areas includes drinking water, wastewater, ground water, soil, and surface water as per USPEA, ASTM and DIN and other regulatory methods. Thermo Scientific Gallery and Gallery Plus discrete analyzers are easy to use, automated systems that allow laboratories to simplify their testing with the dual benefits of time and cost savings. It is a fully integrated walkaway solution: the testing workflow is easy to learn, and can be left unattended, improving throughput, system uptime and staff productivity.

Mastering Beer Analysis
 

For brewers, the compounds of interest range—from inorganic ions, organic acids and hop bittering principles that contribute to overall taste and bitterness—to proteins, carbohydrates and alcohols that are monitored to determine the extent of fermentation. Dedicated for beer, malt, and wort analysis, the Gallery Plus Beermaster discrete analyzer automates labor-intensive and time-consuming tests.

Simplified Wine Analysis
 

Wineries needs a reliable analytical instrumentation for multi-parameter analysis, that enables lab personal without technical or chemistry knowledge to carry out the routine wine analysis. Thermo Scientific Gallery discrete analyzers together with ready to use system reagents makes the overall wine analysis simple, accurate and reliable. The ready to use wine reagents are specifically developed for rapid and cost-effective analysis of juice and wine.

Discrete Analyzer for Environmental Analysis

Drinking water safety is clearly a critical priority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, through the Safe Drinking Water Act, has established national health based standards that address both man-made and naturally occurring contamination. Labs must ensure municipal or industrial wastewater is safe before its discharge into surface waters in accordance with regulations in the U.S. EPA Clean Water Act (CWA). Compliance requires consistent, accurate measurement of water parameters. Our discrete analyzers automate photometric and electrochemical analysis providing fast, reproducible results that allow laboratories to measure multiple analytes simultaneously.

 

Resources

Quality attributes of beverage testing by integrated wet chemical analyzer

Achieving product consistency for malt, beer, wine, cider and other beverage analysis requires analysis of multiple parameters using several automated instrumentations and/or bench-top chemistry procedures. This webinar discusses how a integrated discrete analyzer simultaneously automates analysis from a single sample offering fast turnaround, reduced human error, reduced reagent use, and expanded laboratory analytical capabilities.

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Testing time decreases ten-fold

The Gallery analyzer is much faster than HPLC. If a sample is in before 4 PM, we can provide results the same day. “We need the ability to measure several parameters at once and also be flexible enough to change our mind.”
—Gunter Braun, Viticulture Laboratory Technician, Weinlabor Braun

Case study


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Webinar Quality attributes of beverage testing by integrated wet chemical analyzer
Webinar Fast and Accurate Sugar, Acid and Sulfite Analysis using Automated Discrete Analysis
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