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Europe is getting ready for its first unmanned visit to the surface of Mars. The first European Mars Rover on a joint mission of the American and European space agencies, NASA and ESA, will take off in 2018. The 250 kg Rover will roll over the surface of Mars at a speed of 100 m per hour. While doing so, it will inspect the surface and gather up ground and rock samples, some of them up to 2 m deep. The main goals of the so-called EXOMARS mission are to search for traces of former or present life on the earth-like planet, and to prepare for the arrival of a manned Mars landing.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have revealed new details about how cannibalistic bacteria identify peers suitable for consumption. The work, which employed imaging mass spectrometry, is a first step toward a broader effort to map all signalling molecules between organisms.
Kenneth Standing and Werner Ens from the University of Manitoba have won the Manning Innovation Award, which has been recognising and encouraging innovation in Canada since 1982. The award is given to Canadians who have demonstrated recent innovative talent in developing and successfully marketing a new concept, process or procedure.
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, GA, USA, have attained very promising results on their initial investigations of a new test for ovarian cancer. Using a new technique involving mass spectrometry of a single drop of blood serum, the test correctly identified women with ovarian cancer in 100% of the patients tested.
Targeting new performance enhancing drugs in doping controls: Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs)
Doping control authorities and sports drug testing laboratories are frequently confronted with the illicit use of performance-enhancing therapeutics and therefore various analytical strategies have been developed to detect a misused drug and/or its metabolic product(s) in blood or urine specimens. Besides the administration of clinically approved drugs prohibited in sports, new drug candidates currently undergoing early or advanced clinical trials have also been the subject of investigations concerning their prevalence and abuse by athletes.
Selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry, SIFT-MS; new horizons in real time air and breath analysis
We conceive selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry, SIFT-MS, primarily as a real-time, absolute, analytical technique that can meet the challenge of the immediate analysis of humid exhaled breath for rapid clinical diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring. This objective has certainly been achieved and the application of SIFT-MS has quickly been expanded into many other areas where real time, immediate analyses of trace compounds in air are desired, as we have demonstrated in recent reviews and which we summarise at the end of this article.
Biocius Life Sciences and Agilent Technologies have launched the RF360 high-resolution system for high-throughput screening of in vitro ADME assays.
Bruker has announced the autoflex speed MALDI-ToF mass spectrometer as a high-throughput option for microbial identification by molecular fingerprinting using its MALDI Biotyper platform.
Waters has expanded its Xevo MS instrument platform by introducing the Xevo TQ-S and Xevo G2 QTof. Combined with Waters UltraPerformance LC systems, these mass spectrometers offer scientist a combination of separations power and high levels of sensitivity, whether for compound identification, quantification and screening or for extracting the most information from small sample volumes in a single analysis.
Thermo has announced the launch of EQuan Max, an automated high-throughput LC-MS solution for the analysis of contaminants in water and beverages.
Microscopy with atomic resolution could be useful in the determining the structure of some unknown organic compounds, such as medicinally important natural products, according to a study online in Nature Chemistry. This method could avoid the lengthy and expensive process of trying to synthesise the compound and then compare its structure with that of the natural one, which is necessary in some cases.
The potential impact of lipid research has been increasingly realised both in disease treatment and prevention. Recent advances in soft ionisation mass spectrometry (MS) such as electrospray ionisation (ESI) have permitted parallel monitoring of several hundreds of lipids in a single experiment and thus facilitated lipidomics level studies. These advances, however, pose a greater challenge for bioinformaticians to handle massive amounts of information-rich MS data from modern analytical instruments in order to understand complex functions of lipids.
Professor Pauline Rudd, of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) in Dublin, Ireland, has received an Agilent Thought Leader Award in support of her emerging glycomics research. The award includes a grant of funding and instruments to the NIBRT. The goals of the research are to develop novel approaches to analyse protein glycosylation which will assist in the characterisation of recombinant protein drugs, and to study potential glycan biomarkers associated with disease using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry.
A new technique to analyse fingermarks from crime scenes has the potential to give crucial additional details about a suspect such as their medications, diet, the time at which they accidentally left the fingermark and can even be used to detect any substances they might have touched, such as traces of cocaine. These extra details can be important background information in a criminal investigation, especially if the suspect's fingerprint is not on the police database. It is hoped the technique will compliment current fingermark detection techniques and assist in criminal investigations.
Doping remains a problem throughout sport despite increases in technology to catch the cheats and increased sampling of competitors. At the World Cup, due to start on 11 June, two mass spectrometry companies are providing instrumentation for the anti-doping labs. AB Sciex is providing LC-MS/MS instrumentation and Agilent, GC/MS systems.
A new mass spectrometry-based method allows the identification of N-glycosylated protein sites in different tissues in a highly efficient way. It has enabled the identification of 6367 N-glycosylated protein sites.
The Aquatek 100 Waters-only Autosampler is now available from Teledyne Tekmar. It is a purge and trap autosampler that automates the sample preparation steps for the analysis of liquid samples using a fixed volume sample loop filled using a pressurisation gas.
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments has partnered with Ceres Nanosciences and Nonlinear Dynamics to develop the Nanotrap Biomarker Discovery Platform which gives researchers the ability to enrich, preserve and screen low-level biomarkers directly from complex biological samples.
The HPR-40 from Hiden Analytical is a research-grade mass spectrometer system which provides for real-time analysis of dissolved gases and vapours in aqueous solutions such as respiratory gases and hydrocarbon production.