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Access Agilent eNewsletter, April 2014

Match chromatographic ‘fingerprint’ patterns with Agilent automated solution

By Jennifer McCulley
Agilent GC Software Product Manager

and Eric Phillips
Agilent GC and Workflow Automation Marketing Manager

Figure 1. Understand what the sample in the vial is, not just the compounds that are in it.

As an analyst using a gas chromatograph (GC) or a liquid chromatograph (LC), you have probably been asked to analyze a sample for organic contaminant – for the type and quantity of compounds. There are times when you need to know what a sample is, not just what’s in it (Figure 1). There are several ways to accomplish this. The most common is to analyze the sample on a GC or LC instrument and compare the sample chromatogram to reference chromatograms. Subjectivity of the analysis can present a challenge, but can be addressed by using a software package that provides an objective match of the chromatographic pattern, indicates what the sample really is, and quickly provides a fingerprint analysis of the sample.


Figure 2. Two data files compared. The top is the unknown sample and the bottom is the reference. The size of the circles indicates the intensity of the peaks, while the color indicates how closely the match is for each peak.

"Fingerprinting" samples made easy

Agilent offers a complete solution to address the challenges noted for the type of analysis described above. OpenLAB CDS MatchCompare is a plug-in application for the Agilent OpenLAB CDS Software. OpenLAB CDS MatchCompare automates the time-consuming task of comparing chromatograms of samples, making it ideal for the analysis of flavors and fragrances. In addition, if the peaks are integrated individually, the tool will work for other applications. The software quickly identifies similar chromatographic peaks between two chromatograms and compares areas against predetermined ranges.

OpenLAB CDS MatchCompare compares peaks between a reference and a sample chromatogram and identifies chromatographic peak matches, even when retention times have shifted over several minutes. Matched peaks or impurities are represented by different colors both on-screen and in the report (Figure 2). Automatic peak matching with Agilent OpenLAB CDS Match Compare eliminates errors and speeds data review. What’s more, this solution will help you:

  • Identify and match peaks between two complex samples.
  • Monitor product content uniformity by peak area comparison.
  • Save time with automated product conformity reports.
  • Eliminate reference sample re-injection.
  • Automatically handle peak distortions, scaling, column aging, and changes in experimentation conditions.

Automated, quicker, and more accurate results

As an example, let’s look at a workflow in the flavor analysis laboratory of a food company. A sample is brought to the laboratory to confirm that a new incoming ingredient meets the quality level of the current flavoring. A series of tests are performed, including standard chemical contaminant tests and tests to determine natural vs. artificial flavorings. In order to ensure the new ingredient composition and compare it to past samples, it is analyzed by a gas chromatograph or liquid chromatograph to produce a chromatogram. This chromatogram is printed out and visually compared to several chromatograms from a library developed at the lab. By utilizing Agilent OpenLAB CDS MatchCompare, this same analysis is automated and the user is presented with a similarity value of the sample to the reference chromatograms. Not only does this speed the analysis, it also provides an objective result of the comparison as a probability result.

The laboratory gains a significant advantage by providing quantitation of individual compounds using OpenLAB CDS, while providing a description of the true nature of the sample.

Agilent – One stop for complete chromatographic analysis solutions

Agilent OpenLAB CDS MatchCompare – ideal for flavor and fragrance analysis – is the complete solution for objectively comparing unknown samples to a known standard. Lab technicians can confidently compare results, save time, and increase productivity. For more information about key features of this software, download the Tips and Tricks Guide created for OpenLAB CDS MatchCompare. Then take a moment to explore the Agilent Gas Chromatograph System 7890B Series GC.

Through Agilent’s OpenLAB Portfolio, lab managers have access to an open system architecture that can help create, capture, and share information more easily, increase productivity and security, and manage the lab more efficiently.

Figure 2.

Two data files compared. The top is the unknown sample and the bottom is the reference. The size of the circles indicates the intensity of the peaks, while the color indicates how closely the match is for each peak.