Monday, October 26, 2015

This week's C&EN

A few articles from today's issue of C&EN


  1. Many of the comments on the Stu Borman piece about Siuzdak's GC-MS article are oddly uninformed. I really hope that's not representative of ACS members in general.

    Also, Siuzdak's claim that [molecular transformation from sample heating] “has been a fundamental yet unrecognized problem with GC-MS technology since its inception” is bizarrely false. Why, in the recent "Hiss and Ping" contest on this very blog, qvxb humorously described GC/MS as a technique in which the "carrier gas sweeps the mixture over hot metal surfaces, where the compounds of interest degrade or rearrange" and also pointed out that molecules that elute are "those not pyrolyzed in the injection port." This is NOT an "unrecognized" problem. I think Siuzdak is new to GC-MS metabolomics studies, but he is otherwise a competent analytical chemist, so I don't understand why he would overgeneralize from his own ignorance like that. Just a symptom of the nauseating self-promotion required to get ahead in academic science, I suppose....

  2. Hey, I was always doing distillations to separate my products before and didn't have a problem. Now I'm involved in a project that requires me to make these weird terpene like things with lots of functional groups on the skeleton. I've been doing some separations lately, and I found that a lot of the stuff I need degrades when I heat it at high temperature and I get these weird fractions with new products. But I figured out that there is this secret technique where I hook the whole thing up to a vacuum generating apparatus and then that lowers the boiling point, a lot more of my material survives as it's distilling. I'm planning to submit to Anal. Chem. soon so that I can prevent others from repeating my mistakes. Don't anyone dare scoop this!

  3. Just read the new-style obituaries. Wow, the new format IS terrible! If there's any consolation, they're probably do away with it the next time a big-shot passes away.