Taking the Laboratory Out to the Field

Posted on June 22, 2018 in News by . Share this article

Last week P3 Centre Scientists, led by Professor Mike Burrell and Dr Heather Walker, were out in the field with the latest portable analytical equipment. The trial was carried out at an RAGT Seeds facility in Essex, accompanied by collaborators Celia Bequain and Dr Richard Summers from RAGT.

This was the first test of the newly acquired equipment, a Compact Mass Spectrometer from Advion, producers of analytical solutions to Chemical Biology problems. The system provides direct sample analysis of liquids, solids and powders and provides mass spectral information within seconds. In simple terms, a mass spectrum measures the masses within a sample. In this context the system allows the rapid detection of metabolite markers in plant samples within the field environment, rather than waiting days for results from the lab.

The portable mass spec was successfully used for the rapid analysis of several different varieties of wheat. Dr Walker said;

“The utilisation of this equipment is of huge benefit as it allows the knowledge that we have gained in the laboratory to be transferred and monitored quickly and easily in the field. Using this technology can provide higher detail data on crops in the field than previously possible. It will be of great use to P3 in multiple projects in the future.”