BI offers many opportunities for future research and applications, in my opinion more, than any other flow analysis technique.
And now when the technical issues have been resolved, and the versatility of BI documented by work from other laboratories, the time is ripe to move along this path.
Since BI relies on flow programming it will further benefit from development of novel pumps, since widening the range of flow rates will also enhance BI capabilities, because very high flow rates are needed for bead transport and very low flow rates will enhance efficiency of the capture of target analytes on the stationary phase.
Without doubt integration of separation with detection, with the aim to eliminate matrix and to quantify target analytes within LOV module, will become a widely used tool for trace analysis of elements and compounds.
Enrichment of trace analyses from sea water trough selective capture on beads and subsequent detection by fluorescence or by chemiluminescence emerges as a powerful tool for research in chemical oceanography, where measurement of traces of analytes in sea water is of importance, as emphasized in the report of the recent COCA workshop. http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/faculty/chrism/COCA/Home.html
Automated microfluidic manipulation of beads with surface bound ligands, is now a proven concept ready for design of a robust system that will serve as a front end for ICP-MS. In this way trace element and isotope analysis will be performed efficiently and reliably on complex matrices, such as sea water or soil extracts. For radionuclides Bead Injection offers microminiaturization and automation of separation schemes, that have previously been carried by solvent extraction.