Indexed on: 19 Jul '12Published on: 19 Jul '12Published in: Journal of Separation Science
Gradient elution provides significantly higher peak capacity in comparison to the isocratic elution mode, hence it is very useful in online comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography (LC). We compared suitability of five commercial core-shell columns and one monolithic column for fast gradients in the second LC dimension, where the time of separation is strictly limited by the fraction cycle time. In two-dimensional reversed-phase systems with partially correlated retention, the resolution, the peak capacity, and the regularity of coverage of the second-dimension retention space can be improved by appropriate adjusting the gradient time and the gradient range to suit the sample properties. We developed a new strategy for adjusting the gradient mobile phase composition range in the second-dimension, employing the retention data of representative sample standards characterizing the sample properties, which can be calibrated using the reference alkylbenzene series. Optimized second-dimension gradients with single-step or segmented profiles covering two or more fraction ranges, employed for the separation of subsequent fractions from the first-dimension, improve significantly the resolution, the separation time, and the regularity of coverage of the two-dimensional retention plane. The approach was applied to the two-dimensional comprehensive separation of phenolic acids and flavonoid compounds occurring as natural antioxidants.