Misconception #2: FIA says that bubbles are bad

FIA is referring to bubbles in their flowcells, which is bad for FIA. This is why they often have their customers “degas” the water they use for reagents and standards preparation. However, bubbles can still degas from the reagent stream into their flowcells, ultimately skewing results. The operator must then use a special technique to remove the bubble from the FIA’s flowcell, which often leads to the analyst needing to restart the run. To remove bubbles from the Astoria analyzer(s) the operator simply compresses the waste line for a moment, and this allows the bubble to escape.By contrast, the Astoria2 uses bubbles for maintaining sample separation and providing thorough mixing of the sample and reagents. Five benefits of bubbles: (1) The operator can make sure that the reaction reaches a “steady state,” which may be necessary for some conditions (i.e. estuary water samples with varying salinities). (2) Using bubbles allows the Astoria2 to analyze samples at nearly the same speed as FIA, while only using half the volume of reagents and producing half the waste (as compared to FIA and old SFA). (3) The bubbles actually provide a “visual” quality control of “normal” operation before starting a run–With FIA, you don’t know if there’s a problem until your results come out (requiring a rerun). And (5) bubbles actually help clean out the system by scrubbing the walls of the tubing as they pass through.

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