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Global Acetonitrile Shortage and the Hamilton Diluter Dispenser

The scientific industry is currently experiencing the most severe acetonitrile shortage in history.  This world-wide shortage began in the fall of 2008 and has proceeded to get worse. 

A widely used organic solvent, acetonitrile’s only significant commercial source is as a by-product of acylonitrile manufacture.  The slowing global economy has contributed to a decreased demand for products that use acylonitrile and thus the production of this material has tapered off.  A direct result is a wide-scale shortage of acetonitrile.

Suppliers, such as Sigma-Aldrich, predict the shortage could last through the first half of 2009.  If the current global economic slowdown continues, the shortage and price increases for this valuable organic laboratory solvent could continue.  Thus, in labs using Acetonitrile on a regular basis, minimizing waste, improving accuracy when making dilutions, and an overal conservative approach to its consumption is paramount.  One way to achieve this is by employing a Hamilton Diluter-Dispenser.  By eliminating the need for volumetric glassware, pipettes, burets, etc. from dilution preparation, precision and accuracy can be maintained while simultaneously using considerably smaller (< 2% compared to volumetric glassware) volumes of acetonitrile or any other solvent.  At an average of $200 per 4L bottle for HPLC grade acetonitrile, the savings is significant. 

Less material consumption also means less waste and smaller volumes are not only safer for the environment but also more cost-effective.  In short, the savings from minimized material consumption and reduced waste can quickly pay for a Hamilton diluter-dispenser.  Reducing in the time spent preparing dilutions and standard solutions manually with glassware further adds to the savings and return on investment.