Shimadzu Principal User Interview – Olga Knutova on her use of Gas Chromatography (GC)
Olga Knutova, MSc, is GCMS Technical Officer in Pharmacy School of Trinity College Dublin with more than 14 years of experience in science. Olga is the key person assessing various samples using both liquid and headspace gas chromatography techniques.
What are you currently working on and how Shimadzu Gas Chromatography (GC) got involved in your study?
Currently, I’m working on the GCMS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) profiling and analysis of various complex samples of natural product extracts. This is an analytical technique that combines gas-chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) to identify unknown substances or contaminants. Our samples, collected throughout the island of Ireland, are extracted in Trinity College and I assess the samples using Shimadzu GCMS system. Our current Shimadzu GCMS system has been in place since 2020 when we replaced an old and very well used GCMS system.
A large part of my work is guiding masters and doctoral students in the GCMS world. I’m working very closely with several students supporting their study with results generated by our Shimadzu GCMS system. Every case study is different and therefore challenging in its own nature. My reward comes from knowing what questions I must ask our students to help them prepare the samples correctly for the GCMS analysis.
How would you describe your experience using Shimadzu and how does it compare to other instrumentation you have used in the past?
Our new Shimadzu GCMS system is in use since summer 2020. Having only experienced working on a 30-year-old GCMS system with outdated software, I have no true comparison of it with other instruments. It is working exceptionally well for us, but it was a challenge getting used to the equipment and software as both were completely new to us. Following a steep learning curve, I am delighted that my knowledge and expertise regarding the system is now becoming very useful to my colleagues in the Pharmacy School as well as to our students. This isn’t bad going for someone who was only introduced to GCMS one and a half years ago!
I must mention that when we purchased our new Shimadzu GCMS system from Mason Technology, they offered us a very comprehensive support package. They have helped us to get the most out of the system, answering any questions we had since the beginning of GCMS installation through to helping us understand data processing and reporting with GCSolutions software.
What is next for your research group?
Our researchers’ group is very diverse, and we really don’t know what future brings regarding projects. In the short term, projects will be focused on plant extracts from samples across the Ireland utilising liquid and headspace GCMS techniques. For the next few years, I will be focused on the assessment and in-depth analysis of samples, including fingerprinting, and building an inhouse library.
I will also continue to provide support for master and doctoral students. This is a very interesting and exciting aspect of my role due to the wide variety of samples being analysed. Each comes with its own data analysis challenges including meeting different expectations each time.
Another project in the pipeline will be our biggest challenge to date. Soon, we will be building a library of operating procedures for the whole GCMS system and associated GCSolutions software.
Do you have any new analytical techniques or technologies you hope to explore in the future?
It’s hard to say what future will bring. Future research plans will drive the need for any other analytical techniques. For now, my focus is mastering the GCMS for the types of research undertaken in Pharmacy School and making it useful and easy to understand to master and doctoral students.
For information on Shimadzu gas chromatography (GC) hardware and software:
Sebastian Jurek is an application consultant with Mason Technology with specialist knowledge in the Shimadzu range of liquid and gas chromatography systems. Get in touch with Sebastian today if you would like further information on our range of Shimadzu products.
Application Consultant for Shimadzu Chromatography
M: +353 87 436 4185
T: +353 1 4154422