We are very pleased that we -as a small company (now in its fifth year a start-up)- were in 2022 able to continuously research, publish, train and help partners (in their and in our laboratory) very extensively on on our core experience non-target screening as well as in chromatography and mass spectrometry. Furthermore, despite adverse external circumstances for our laboratory, the requests from the industrial and commercial analytical environment for NTS consulting also increased, so that we were not only able to ‘keep our heads above water’ in this difficult times, but also to work on many interesting topics and answer new questions.
In the second year, the two research projects RIKovery and bee2diversity significantly advanced the state of knowledge and already established initial approaches implementing these findings. In both initiatives, our NTS approaches, which have now been established there, were able to provide molecular knowledge on industrial wastewater processes and on bee pollen-containing samples (further information can be found here and there is also a current overview article on bees from our consortium in German).
In the the strategical project partnership by the Westfälische Wasser- und Umweltanalytik GmbH, we were able to establish NTS in water analysis with polarity-extended chromatography, introduce it as a routine application and qualify it for that. We are very pleased that our former co-worker Susanne Minkus was able to successfully finalize her doctoral thesis in that cooperation and concluded it with a phD defense on 23.11.2022 resulting in a ‘Dr. rer. nat.’ at the Technical University of Munich. We are still connected to several parties and are curious to see what joint actions will arise in the future.
And since 2022, we have been allowed to carry the seal ‘Innovative through Research’ (awarded by the German Stifterverband e.V.).
Also in 2022 we could place important publications (for NTS). So, there were five scientific research articles (regarding NTS in Water Analysis, in Plant Metabolomics, in Beer Analysis, in Fragrances Analysis and regarding ‘sub’micro Plastics Analysis), two review articles with up to 100 authors (regarding PMT and vPvM as well as the Application of Databases in Suspects Screening), three articles in our own format of the AFIN-TS Forum and a Spotlight article regarding NTS data analysis.
On the one hand, it was important to keep the quality of the content high (often controlled in peer-review processes) and on the other hand to be able to make it available to everyone free of charge through ‘open-access’ publications.
Furthermore, as part of our above-mentioned research projects, we presented scientific posters with titles such as ‘Mass Spectrometric Non-Target Screening In Practice – Quo Vadis?’, so it was at the International Mass Spectrometric Conference –IMSC 2022– in Maastricht this year. If you are interested in the poster, click here.
In 2022, various (German) certificate courses and seminars took place in the field of LC-MS, mass spectrometry, DoE and polar molecules in cooperation with Springer Campus (as well as Sekulab and other partners). We had again numerous participants in the 3x3h format both in Spring (Wednesdays) and Autumn (Mondays). As a successful format (not only for pandemic times), these seminars will continue in 2023 and beyond (and partly of them will be given in English).
In addition, multi-day In-House Training Courses on Non-Target Screening in industrial, analytical and official laboratories could again be carried out in 2022. The primary interest was in professional water analysis, but other disciplines are also opening up to this type of analysis, for example the topic of ‘Leachables and Extractables’ is currently on the rise.
We train vendor-independent or involve experts of the respective vendor used in the customer laboratory; the same applies to the implementation and training in data analysis and statistics. Further NTS training courses are already scheduled for the beginning of 2023 and now also in the academic environment.
In addition to (apprenticeship) trainings and further education concepts in our company (and within the framework of the AGBB of the GdCH), many new and hopefully promising things took place in 2022. This will be a focus of our communication in 2023 and will appear separately in one or more articles here. Examples include our German apprentices and pupil projects’Analytics+‘ and the ‘Chemnixblog‘, respectivelly.
On November 7 and 8, AFIN-TS organized the workshop ‘Gas Chromatography meets Non-Target Screening‘ for the second time. In total, more than 70 international GC users and vendors met digitally for lectures, poster presentations and panel discussions. If the interest in the topic remains so great, there will certainly be a third workshop in 2024; however first of all, we will take up the topic again at ICNTS23.
Previously, we were able to contribute to the exchange and technical discussion with a booth (and as sponsor) at conferences such as Analytica in Munich and MWAS 2022 in Mülheim an der Ruhr. After ‘post’ corona times, one noticed the joy and enthusiasm of the participants – in addition to digital meetings – to be able to cultivate personal exchange again. We at AFIN-TS will continue both in the future, e.g. next year in the period 16-19 October 2023 at the hybrid ‘International Conference on Non-Target Screening (ICNTS 23)‘.
NTS Contract Analysis in the ‘Laboratory Augsburg’
Unfortunately, in 2022 we were only able to carry out our laboratory activities to a very limited extent due to renovation work in the start-up centre (and thus on our premises). During our active time, however, we were able to respond in a concerted manner to inquiries from research, water supply and disposal companies, authorities and industry. The still open work will now be completed quickly -after completion of the renovation at the beginning of 2023- in order to be able to accept and process new orders again in the further year 2023.
At this point, we would like to express our special thanks to all partners and customers for their understanding of the delays and the trust in us and our reliability.
Last year, we were also able to establish Thermo Fisher Scientific as a strong and reliable partner in our (LC) NTS laboratory. Together with the local and national responsibles, we were able to further develop the field of non-target screening technologically and, above all, in terms of evaluation technology, and to transfer it to a wide variety of disciplines. A first example can be found in our AFIN-TS Forum Article No. 8; further announcements will follow here and also joint seminars (for the latter you can ask us directly for possible dates).
We would also like to thank all other LC-MS companies on our partner page for supporting our efforts in the implementation of non-target screening for our customers with their own forces and expertise. This ensures that the corresponding devices and the appropriate NTS software can be used professionally. We are looking forward to supporting further customers in NTS together with also other LC-MS manufacturers in the coming year. And if you as a user have a need, please ask your vendor and us at the same time; there is certainly a solution.
Further, the platform FOR-IDENT is now compatible with all LC-MS manufacturer formats and can now be better used soon by everyone in 2023 in club form. If you would like to become a member of the ‘FOR-IDENT Friends’ Association e.V., we will be happy to inform you. And in 2023, the FOR-IDENT will also be increasingly used for GC-MS users in the NTS; one can be curious.
In GC-MS and Non-Target Screening, we were able to take some important steps together with our partner TOFWERK and we are very confident that we can sustainably establish the GC-ecTOF coupling in different disciplines of non-target screening (the interest definitely suggests this; do you also have applications for ‘volatile NTS’? Then feel free to contact us).
And this year we would especially like to thank Mrs. Dellert-Ritter and express our appreciation for her journals ‘Wasserforum’ and ‘Chrom+Food Forum’. The quality of the contributions and all content is very high and we are pleased that we were able to contribute several times in 2022. (so the topic ‘NTS in der Routine‘ and ‘Ansichten eines ausbildenden Analytikers‘, both in Grman). We hope you will publish many more years and thus enable sustainable knowledge transfer.
Last but not least, we wish you all a good and healthy year 2023 and hope to meet many digitally, live and above all ‘NTS’ discussing.