What Do Gas Chromatography Users Have to Say?

Learn the most common GC problems readers experience, and more, from the latest survey results.

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

Gas chromatography (GC) is a common technique used in analytical chemistry for separating and analyzing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. GC is typically used for separating the different components of a mixture, improving the purity of a particular substance, or identifying a particular compound. GC is a ubiquitous technique, and the various GC instruments available are designed to achieve every requirement of the technique.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a GC System

  1. What factors come into play when determining the GC system specifications you require in terms of cycle time, enhanced operator benefits, increased productivity, and flexibility for specific applications?
  2. What differentiates the vendor’s GC system from others offered, in terms of performance?
  3. How do you validate the specification claims presented by the vendor?
  4. Has the data processing software been designed for enhanced analytics, with workflow in mind and does it support critical compliance requirements?
  5. What are important price points to keep in mind when selecting a GC system?
  6. Laboratories need fast and effective services, including an effective distribution of instruments, spare parts, education, and service personnel. How does the company serve these needs worldwide?

Survey respondents reported the following problems when using their GC systems:

Retention time shifts 51%
Baseline disturbances 46%
Irregular peak shapes or sizes 40%
Loss of separation or resolution 40%
Ghost peaks 24%
Broad solvent fronts 21%
Quantitation problems 17%
Rapid column deterioration 10%

For those planning to purchase a new GC system, the primary reasons for the purchase are as follows:

Replacement of aging system 71%
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity 11%
Setting up a new lab 4%
First time purchase 3%
Other 11%

Factors That Would Help Users Overcome Their GC Issues:

Improved maintenance 59%
Better training 50%
Newer equipment 43%
Better technical support 27%
Newer accessories 23%

Some of the most exciting applications of GC, as reported by survey respondents:

  • Discovery of new proteins
  • Drug testing
  • Portable GC for field work
  • Flavor profile investigations
  • Pesticide analysis

For more information on GC systems, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See results from previous surveys: