published: February 9, 2011
TP News from the Benefri
By Prof. Felix Kessler, University of Neuchâtel
In April 2010, the long expected Chemical Analytical Service (CAS) platform took up its activities at the University of Neuchâtel. At the heart of the CAS is the UHPLC-QTOFMS.
This complicated acronym stands for ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. This instrument allows the very rapid separation of biological samples and the determination, with high accuracy (< 2 ppm), of the mass of bioorganic substances. It is the current state of the art and one of only very few in Switzerland.
This new instrument will open the doors to the hidden world of small plant molecules and enable exciting new discoveries in plant metabolism.
The platform is headed by Dr. Gaétan Glauser, who recently finished his PhD studies in Professor Jean-Luc Wolfender’s laboratory at the University of Geneva and is specialized in the analysis of plant natural products. With Gaétan’s strong background in plant metabolite analysis, the SPSW platform has quickly become a focal point of research in the BeNeFri area and beyond.
Despite the short duration of its existence, the BeNeFri platform has already attracted a good number of projects (7 done and 9 running), not only from BeNeFri but also from Zürich, Lausanne and Geneva and even from abroad. The research topics include subjects such as the chemical ecology of plant-insect interactions, antioxidant biosynthesis in plants, and metabolomics analyses to understand the importance of small molecules in various plant processes and crop species.
Many exciting results have already been obtained, and we expect the first publications soon. So there are numerous reasons for the enthusiasm generated by the CAS platform in Neuchâtel. No doubt you are interested in the research activities too! In the following issues of the SPSW Newsletter, we will continue to update you with special research highlights.