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A faster way to determine pKa values

By Paul Grad |

Researchers from the University of Tasmania (Hobart, Australia; www.utas.edu.au) and the University of Barcelona (Spain; www.ub.edu) have found a method to drastically speed up capillary electrophoresis (CE) for measuring pKa values (acid dissociation constants). This is especially valuable for pharmaceutical companies that have to test compounds’ suitability for making drugs. One of the parameters those companies must measure is the pKa which indicates how much a drug candidate will dissociate at a given pH. Previously, scientists have streamlined the CE method by injecting analytes together with compounds with well-known pKa values into the capillary tube. The reference compounds reduce the number of trials needed. However, this was still cumbersome due to the job of preparing the needed buffers, and at least 20 trials were needed over a range of pH levels. Now, professor Michael C. Breadmore of the University of Tasmania and coworkers made a microfluidic device that automatically mixes buffers of a specified pH in less than a minute. The device was built from commercially available parts with a 3D micromixer designed and printed to combine four different reagents into one single homogeneous flow. The device automatically mixes,…
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