Water Purification System | Chromatography Lab

Chromatography is the powerful analytical technique used in the lab to separate the components in the mixture. Chromatography in the chemistry lab is used to separate the ions, proteins, DNA, or proteins of other molecules. Chromatography techniques are used in various applications like 

Creating vaccinations - Chromatography technique is used to determine the antibodies for deadly viruses or microorganisms that affect humans and animals with deadly diseases.

Food testing - Traditionally the food testing was effective only when determined with the raw samples. Later High-performance liquid chromatography combined with mass spectroscopy (HPLC-MS) enabled us to determine and make conclusions even with the processed foods. For example, the meat used in the food preparation is either beef or sheep or a mix of these and other ingredients mixed with the food.

Beverage testing - Food is not the only thing we consume. Chromatography technique can also be used to test the beverage. Many beverage industries use this technique to maintain the consistent taste in the product.

Drug testing - The chromatography technique easily separates the substances from the bloodstream. With this effective technique, it is easy to identify whether the person has consumed drugs or not, especially in the sport. 

Forensic testing - Chromatography technique helps to catch criminals effectively. With widely used techniques such as CSI, Gas chromatography the blood, cloth samples are analyzed to identify the criminals.

The chromatography lab requires highly purified water for its sensitive applications. Thus lab water purification system is essential in the life science laboratory to carry out the various processes. Now let’s see the importance of the water purification system laboratory in the chromatography lab.

Importance Of Water In Chromatography Lab

Water is everywhere and is essential for all life. Water is virtually present in all laboratories. Water is used for preparing samples or as reagents or used as a part of the eluent in the chromatography lab. Water is also used to clean the equipment, glassware, and labware such as bottles.

Water is used as autoclaves and it is also used as a humidity chamber. Water has the unique ability to dissolve substances that impact any experiment. Some contaminants present in the water will impact largely in the chromatography lab. So it is important to use purified water in the lab. 

Impact Of Impurities In Water In  HPLC, IC, and LC-MS

Water is used as a reagent in large volumes in the chromatography lab. Liquid chromatography in the highly sensitive application requires high-grade purified water. These applications require water for solid-phase extraction, as reagent blanks, preparation of eluents, and standards. If the water contains contaminants in it then these contaminants may increase the peaks with potentially serious effects on sensitivity and selectivity. If the impure water is used for the long term it can cause drift and degradation of components.

Contaminants In Water That Affect Liquid Chromatography Results

The major impurities that affect High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and Liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) techniques are organic compounds. The impurities like ions, bacteria, and particulates affect such techniques to a lower extent. Ion chromatographic (IC) is susceptible to ionic impurities.

Organic compounds

The organic impurities present in the water can cause numerous chromatographic problems. These impurities may compete with the analyte on the stationary phase, block the active site and form large peaks. These impurities may produce ions with masses close to the elements of interest affecting ionization efficiency when the LC-MS technique is used.


When the water with inorganic contaminants like ions is used in Ion Chromatographic (IC) technique may affect the sensitivity and reproducibility. These impurities in water cause an increase in background noise, drift, and produce enlarged peaks.

In the LC-MS technique, if the water used contains ionic impurities, then these ions may directly react with other ions in the sample which complicates mass spectral interpretation.

Bacteria and Particulates

Bacteria and its byproducts are the potential contaminants of water. Particulates and bacteria can block the components in the long run. These bacteria can affect the chromatography and lead to inaccurate results.

Water Purity Requirements For HPLC, IC, LC-MS

The level of water purity required depends on the sensitivity of applications. For general application, it is sufficient to use Type II water. For critical applications it is vital to use water with negligible contaminants i.e., resistivity >18.2MΩ.cm and TOC <5ppb is preferred. As the purification is essential for various processes it is vital to have a water purification system for the laboratory.

Tips To Avoid Ionic Contamination In LC-MS

  1. Choose The Best Ultrapure Water system

Freshly produced ultrapure water from a lab water purification system is the best choice. Ultrapure water system with high quality ultrapure water  produced optimally using different purification technologies with high resistivity of >18.2MΩ.cm and TOC <1ppb is preferred. It is best to use ultrapure water at the point of use rather than storing the water in the container. The stored water may easily get contaminated with the dissolved gases or ions in the environment. Ultrapure water system with an online resistivity monitor at the point of use might largely help to avoid ionic contamination in the ultrapure water.

  1. Choose The High-Quality Glassware

Glassware used should be dedicated to LC-MS application and should be free from contaminants. It is recommended to clean the glassware with Lab purified water because ultrapure is very aggressive to absorb ions or organic contaminants even from containers.

  1.  Keep Your Work Area Clean

The Laboratory environment contains a lot of contaminants and the ultrapure absorbs contaminants easily from the air. It is essential to keep the working environment clean. Proper use of caps and covers for the mobile phase and glassware can help to avoid the contamination of ultrapure water from the laboratory air. Wearing gloves in the hands ensure that the ions are not transferred from the bare hands and avoid metal adductions.

  1. Select High Purity Reagents And Organic Solvents

It is important to have a good source of information about the reagents and organic solvents. Reagents and high purity organic solvents are vital for sensitive LC-MS applications.

  1. Routine Maintenance

When using a water purification system laboratory periodical maintenance may help to avoid the accumulation of contaminants in the purification system and produce consistently high-quality water.

Technologies That Address These Contaminants

The tap water is pretreated to remove large particles. Once the large particles are removed through prefiltration. Reverse osmosis is done in the water purification system for laboratories by which all the contaminants whether organic, inorganic, particulates, or microorganisms present in the water are removed to some extent.  The deionization method uses membranes and ion exchange resin beds to remove additional ions like silica present in the water purification process.

After all the ions are removed the ion-free water is then hit through UV photo-oxidation where the organic contaminants are oxidized and removed. Even the bacteria present in the water are deactivated by the UV photo-oxidation process with the germicidal wavelength of 254nm. The additional ions produced by this UV process are again removed by ion exchange resin. After this final polishing with the ion exchange resin, we will get the ultrapure water for laboratory use. Sometimes carbon cartridges are also used to remove the chlorine present in the water. Depending on the feed water contamination the best combination of these methods will help to get ultrapure water with negligible contaminants.


Development in technologies resulted with ultrapure water system used not only in the chromatography applications of life science laboratories but also used in a wide variety of applications. A lot of research scientists put a lot of effort both into the chromatography and water to determine what actually in the water will affect the chromatography applications. With these analyses, the water purification system for the laboratory removes all the contaminants with the best combination of different methods to produce ultrapure water.

Lab Q ultra type I is the multipurpose water purifier that produces point-of-use ultrapure water with high resistivity and low TOC that can be effectively used in various applications for better performance.

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