Indexed on: 01 Dec '06Published on: 01 Dec '06Published in: Analytical Chemistry
A method producing simultaneously three retention indexes for compounds has been developed for comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography by using a dual secondary column approach (GC x 2GC). For this purpose, the primary flow of the first dimension column was equally diverted into two secondary microbore columns of identical geometry by means of a three-way flow splitter positioned after the longitudinally modulated cryogenic system. This configuration produced a pair of comprehensive two-dimensional chromatograms and generated retention data on three different stationary phases in a single run. First dimension retention indexes were determined on a polar SolGel-Wax column under linear programmed-temperature conditions according to the van den Dool approach using primary alcohol homologues as the reference scale. Calculation of pseudoisothermal retention indexes in both second dimensions was performed on low-polarity 5% phenyl equivalent polysilphenylene/siloxane (BPX5) and 14% cyanopropylphenyl/86% dimethylpolysiloxane (BP10) columns. To construct a retention correlation map in the second dimension separation space upon which KovAts indexes can be derived, two methods exploiting "isovolatility" relationships of alkanes were developed. The first involved 15 sequential headspace samplings of selected n-alkanes by solid-phase microextraction (SPME), with each sampling followed by their injection into the GC at predetermined times during the chromatographic run. The second method extended the second dimension retention map and consisted of repetitive introduction of SPME-sampled alkane mixtures at various isothermal conditions incremented over the temperature program range. Calculated second dimension retention indexes were compared with experimental values obtained in conventional one-dimensional GC. A case study mixture including 24 suspected allergens (i.e., fragrance ingredients) was used to demonstrate the feasibility and potential of retention index information in comprehensive 2D-GC.