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Vol. 26 No. 2
March-April 2004

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also
www.iupac.org/symposia

Flow Analysis

by I. D. McKelvie

The Ninth International Conference on Flow Analysis was held from 17–21 February 2003 at Deakin University in Geelong, SE Australia, under the aegis of the Analytical Chemistry Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

The first International Conference on Flow Analysis was held in Amsterdam in 1979 in response to the renaissance in flow analysis techniques that followed the development of flow injection analysis by Hansen and Ruzicka in 1974. Subsequent flow analysis conferences have been held in Lund (1982), Birmingham (1985), Las Vegas (1988), Kumamoto (1991), Toledo (1994), Piracicaba (1997), and Warsaw (2000), and all have reflected the excitement, enthusiasm, and ingenuity of researchers, practitioners, and manufacturers in flow-based analysis.
Of the 117 delegates who attended the Australian meeting, 77 traveled from overseas. These attendees, including large contingents from Thailand and Portugal, represented more than 20 countries.

Plenary and invited speakers and members of the Australian Organising committee (photo: Donna Edwards, Deakin Photography). Front row (L to R): Daryl Tucker, Paul Worsfold, Ian McKelvie, Gary Christian, Dermot Diamond, Alan Townshend, Elo Hansen. Middle Row: Gillian Greenway, Bob Cattrall, Sandy Dasgupta, Ivano Gutz, Simon Lewis, Neil Barnett, Amanda Lyddy-Meaney. Back Row: Ari Ivaska, Terry Elms, Spas Kolev, Stuart Chalk, Peter Hauser, Ben Hindson, Graham Marshall.

The opening address of the conference was given by Professor Gary Christian (“The Role and Importance of Flow Analysis in Analytical Science”), who traced the history of the flow analysis meetings, and argued the importance of flow analysis in the field of analytical science.

The scientific program that followed included 5 plenary lectures, 5 invited lectures, 38 contributed papers, and 82 poster presentations, covering a wide range of detection and sample preparation techniques in environmental, process, clinical, and food and beverage analysis. Prof. Paul Worsfold (Univ. of Plymouth, UK), as the first of the plenary lecturers, illustrated this in his address on the development and use of spectrophotometric and chemiluminescent flow systems for shipboard measurements in marine and estuarine environments. Ivano Gutz (Univ. Sao Paulo) gave an energetic lecture on the non-detection, sample modification applications of electrochemistry, while Peter Hauser (Univ. Basel, Switzerland) gave a systematic description of electrochemical detection in flow analysis.

Miniaturization of flow systems was a hot topic. Gillian Greenway (Univ. Hull, UK) described her experiences with Lab-on-a-Chip, noting that this approach had enormous promise. However, there is a need to fully understand the sensing and separation processes at a molecular level if this approach is to reach its potential. Dermot Diamond (Dublin City Univ. Ireland) continued in this vein. He described the burgeoning development of wireless networked sensors, and raised the challenge of developing robust microfluidic sensing systems that could operate for more than a year with reagent consumption of less than 100 mL!

Ben Hindson (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA) emphasized the importance of on-line flow analysis systems in his invited lecture on the development of a microbead sequential injection analysis immunoassay system for screening for bio-warfare agents and air monitoring in public places.

Graham Marshall (GlobalFIA, USA) described the limitations of conventional pumping and injection systems, and argued the case for a new generation of “zone fluidic” flow systems that overcome many of the limitations of laboratory based flow systems. Ari Ivaska èbo (Univ. Finland) continued this theme in his talk on the applications of SIA in process monitoring in the steel and paper industries. Sandy Dasgupta, ever the showman, gave a stunning video and musical illustration of the versatility and aesthetics of microfluidic manipulations. The scientific program finished on an upbeat note with a concluding plenary lecture by Alan Townshend (Univ. Hull, UK) entitled “Solid Phase Reactors and Liquid Phase Emitters—Some Success Stories in Flow Injecdtion Analysis.”

One of the highlights of the conference banquet was an occasional address by Prof Elo Hansen (Technical University of Denmark), co-inventor of flow injection analysis (“Flow Injection Analysis: How It Was Conceived, Developed, and Succeeded—Despite All Odds”) in which he described something of the excitement and frustrations from the early days of FIA.
Scientific presentations at the conference were notable for their very high standard, and the judges had a difficult task in deciding the four student awards. These were ultimately presented at the dinner to Ms. Sumalee Tanikkul (Thailand), Ms. Weena Siangproh (Thailand), Ms. Nuanlaor Rattanawimarnwong (Thailand), and Ms. Amanda Lyddy-Meaney (Australia) by the international judging panel (Professors Bo Karlberg, Shoji Motomizu, and Tadao Sakai).

The proceedings of Flow Analysis IX will be published in Analytica Chimica Acta in late 2003. Flow Analysis X will be held in 2006 in Oporto, Portugal.

Ian McKelvie <ian.mckelvie@sci.monash.edu.au>, chair of Flow Analysis IX, is associate head (Teaching), School of Chemistry, Monash University, Australia.


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