IDBS Blog | 5th June 2014

Electronic Laboratory Notebooks: Reinvigorating the LC-MS Process

With the evolution of science and technology over the past 20 years, many lab operations are well developed. Data processing, review and reporting still remains a burden. The use of electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) could be the key to reinvigorating this process.

Most bioanalytical operations are looking to improve productivity and reduce overall costs. That’s no different when it comes to the quantitation of large molecule proteins. Until now, this has most commonly been carried out through Ligand Binding Assays (LBAs) – something made even more popular by recent developments in liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The process remains laborious at best. This reduces the potential for innovation and ramps up costs.

This is where ELNs come into their own. During sample preparation, they can be used to carefully monitor selections to ensure they pass business rules and flag any exceptions simultaneously. Beyond this, ELNs can also help ensure reproducibility of data. This is paramount if this new method is to become an acceptable means of large molecule quantitation. At this stage, ELNs can provide quality control in real time. This can enforce business rules and prioritize values that fall outside of approved limits. In fact, an ELN approach also means that data can be read digitally, eliminating the need for transcription at all.

Historically, validating the methods used has also been a time intensive step due to the post-analysis run review. An ELN saves time by providing validation templates which can be adapted to create method-specific secondary templates. These templates have the same quality control checks built into them, meaning every step of the process is being consistently evaluated in real-time.

ELNs are hugely valuable throughout the LC-MS process – increasing efficiency, improving productivity and reducing overall costs. When all the benefits are combined, the scope for new levels of innovation is huge.

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