Se pu = Chinese journal of chromatography

[Fast optimization of stepwise gradient conditions for ternary mobile phase in reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography].

PMID 12541907


In high performance liquid chromatography, it is necessary to apply multi-composition gradient elution for the separation of complex samples such as environmental and biological samples. Multivariate stepwise gradient elution is one of the most efficient elution modes, because it combines the high selectivity of multi-composition mobile phase and shorter analysis time of gradient elution. In practical separations, the separation selectivity of samples can be effectively adjusted by using ternary mobile phase. For the optimization of these parameters, the retention equation of samples must be obtained at first. Traditionally, several isocratic experiments are used to get the retention equation of solute. However, it is time consuming especially for the separation of complex samples with a wide range of polarity. A new method for the fast optimization of ternary stepwise gradient elution was proposed based on the migration rule of solute in column. First, the coefficients of retention equation of solute are obtained by running several linear gradient experiments, then the optimal separation conditions are searched according to the hierarchical chromatography response function which acts as the optimization criterion. For each kind of organic modifier, two initial linear gradient experiments are used to obtain the primary coefficients of retention equation of each solute. For ternary mobile phase, only four linear gradient runs are needed to get the coefficients of retention equation. Then the retention times of solutes under arbitrary mobile phase composition can be predicted. The initial optimal mobile phase composition is obtained by resolution mapping for all of the solutes. A hierarchical chromatography response function is used to evaluate the separation efficiencies and search the optimal elution conditions. In subsequent optimization, the migrating distance of solute in the column is considered to decide the mobile phase composition and sustaining time of the latter steps until all the solutes are eluted out. Thus the first stepwise gradient elution conditions are predicted. If the resolution of samples under the predicted optimal separation conditions is satisfactory, the optimization procedure is stopped; otherwise, the coefficients of retention equation are adjusted according to the experimental results under the previously predicted elution conditions. Then the new stepwise gradient elution conditions are predicted repeatedly until satisfactory resolution is obtained. Normally, the satisfactory separation conditions can be found only after six experiments by using the proposed method. In comparison with the traditional optimization method, the time needed to finish the optimization procedure can be greatly reduced. The method has been validated by its application to the separation of several samples such as amino acid derivatives, aromatic amines, in which satisfactory separations were obtained with predicted resolution.