Sample preparation represents a major challenge and a very important step in the development and application of an analytical method. It is now widely accepted that sample preparation is the most time-consuming and often the costliest step in an analytical process. In addition it is the most labour-intensive and the most error prone. In the post genome era new analytical technologies are sought to address the upcoming needs: proteomics, metabolomics, holistic analytical approaches, high-throughput screening, biomarker discovery and drug discovery. Sample preparation is still in certain cases one of the bottlenecks of the data generation. However new exciting technologies and developments are continuously emerging. The present review will try to discuss critically the status and the limitations of existing methods and highlight the potential and the advantages of selected novel technologies for sample preparation and analyte detection. Emphasis is put on sample preparation methods that are used in bioanalysis in combination with separation techniques. The review will try to highlight trends in automation, derivatisation, microextraction and the implementation of molecular recognition mechanisms in bioanalytical separations. The latter includes molecular imprinting, affinity chromatography and biospecific analyte detection.
Keywords: Sample preparation, Extraction technologies, Derivatisation, Automation, Molecular recognition, Biospecific detection
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