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UHPLC Analysis of Ephedrine and Related Compounds on Supel™ Carbon LC Column

William L. Maule III, Clint Corman, Michael Ye, Cory Muraco, Curtis Frantz

Ephedrine and related analogs are used as the active components of many decongestants and bronchodilators. However, counterfeit versions of these products may have dangerous amounts of one or more analogs of ephedrine. Therefore, it is important to have analytical methods available to resolve these structurally similar compounds. The use of HPLC columns packed with carbon particles can fill this analytical need, as the polar retention effect on graphite (PREG) mechanism can discriminate compounds by differences in their three-dimensional structure. This application demonstrates the use of the Supel™ Carbon LC column to resolve ephedrine and its three structural analogs.

2-D chemical structures (Bond line structure) of ephedrine and its related structural analogs.

Figure 1.Chemical structures of compounds used in the study.

Experimental Conditions

Table 1.Chromatographic conditions for the analysis of Ephedrine compounds
Table 2.Composition of Test Mix used in the study

Performance results and comparison

Chromatogram showing peaks for ephedrine and its structural analogs obtained during the liquid chromatographic analysis on Supel™ Carbon LC column.

Figure 2.Analysis of Ephedrine compounds on Supel™ Carbon LC

Chromatogram showing peaks for ephedrine and its structural analogs obtained during the liquid chromatographic analysis on a competitor carbon column

Figure 3.Analysis of Ephedrine compounds on a competitor carbon column

Table 3.Retention time parameters for compounds seen in Figure 2
Table 4.Retention time parameters for compounds seen in Figure 3

Conclusion

This application has demonstrated the use of the Supel™ Carbon LC column in resolving ephedrine and related compounds. By employing the unique PREG effect, these compounds were baseline separated with excellent peak shape in under five minutes. In addition, the narrower particle size distribution and unique surface properties of the Supel™ Carbon LC column led to the generation of narrower peaks and better resolution compared to a column from an alternative vendor. The Supel™ Carbon LC column is an ideal choice for resolving mixtures of structurally similar compounds.

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