Google is telling me that the world is suffering from an acetonitrile shortage. This I discovered mid-week when one of my PhD students emailed and said our stores man couldn’t give him a winchester. I replied and said (some horrid words about him) ‘ridiculous’, he’s probably forgotten to do the order, tell him to ‘sort it out’ or there will be me to deal with. But alas there does seem to be a real problem.

Who can say when it started, there are many stories floating cyberspace as to the cause. My lack of knowledge/interest I put down to just returning from maternity leave, and the abundance of an HPLC solvent being low on my list of concerns. However, it appears that while I have been wondering about returning to work part-time or full-time in the current economic crisis, that the very same global financial situation may be behind the fall in supply of this solvent.

A friend of mine for many years when I worked as a synthetic chemist, and then in separation science, I am already starting to miss it. I like to know that it is there. Rarely getting in to the lab myself these days, I worry for my PhD student who has spent many months developing methods based on acetonitrile, and has many hundreds of samples lined up to be run. Have I failed him as a supervisor in not predicting this acetonitrile crisis? Why did we choose this over methanol for this current study anyway? I can’t recall.

A posting on one forum suggests that the bust of the housing market is to blame. I must therefore accept some responsibility, as we have decided to stay put in our weeny flat! I doubt this to be the cause – but the IOC could perhaps pen a letter to my fretting student by way of an apology, and that pesky hurricane had a bit of a cheek too kicking up a storm in the Gulf Coast.

What to do in the meanwhile then? My man in stores says he knows where he can get a few bottles, but I’ll have to pay £50 or £60 rather than the usual tenner. Would this be some dark alley rendez-vous I wondered, toe-tectors and reinforced winchester carriers at the ready. My student is perhaps going to pop in over the xmas break and scavenge a few mls here and there from the other labs. I warned him to be careful with his fingerprints, since our Forensics department would love an in-house investigation. ‘UPLC’ I keep hearing in my head. Again, no-one but myself to blame for not getting that grant in for some new equipment.

I hear from my colleagues in pharma that they are being allowed to go past the ‘use-by’ dates on their mobile phase buffers. Shock horror. Now that really is headline news. Pointless of me to be wondering late last night then, how many 1 litre bottles would fit snuggly into my laptop bag when I next pay them a visit.

Does anyone else have acetonitrile anxiety?

VN:F [1.9.10_1130]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.10_1130]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)