Two-dimensional supercritical fluid chromatography/mass spectrometry for the enantiomeric analysis and purification of pharmaceutical samples.

Research paper by Lu L Zeng, Rongda R Xu, Yinong Y Zhang, Daniel B DB Kassel

Indexed on: 15 Apr '11Published on: 15 Apr '11Published in: Journal of Chromatography A


A new analytical two-dimensional supercritical fluid chromatography/mass spectrometry system (2D SFC/SFC/MS) has been designed and implemented to enhance the efficiency and quality of analytical support in drug discovery. The system consists of a Berger analytical SFC pump and a modifier pump, a Waters ZQ 2000 mass spectrometer, a set of switching valves, and a custom software program. The system integrates achiral and chiral separations into a single run to perform enantiomeric analysis and separation of a racemic compound from a complex mixture without prior clean up. The achiral chromatography in the first dimension separates the racemate from all other impurities, such as un-reacted starting materials and by-products. Mass-triggered fractionation is used to selectively fractionate the targeted racemic compound based on its molecular weight. The purified racemate from the achiral chromatography in the first dimension is then transferred to the chiral column in the second dimension to conduct the enantiomeric separation and analysis. A control software program, we coined SFC2D, was developed and integrated with MassLynx to retrieve acquisition status, current sample information, and real time mass spectrometric data as they are acquired. The SFC2D program also monitors the target ion signal to carry out mass-triggered fractionation by switching the valve to fractionate the desired peak. The 2D SFC/SFC/MS system uses one CO(2) pump and one modifier pump for both first and second dimension chromatographic separations using either gradient or isocratic elution. Similarly, a preparative 2D SFC/SFC/MS system has been constructed by modifying an existing Waters preparative LC/MS system. All components except the back pressure regulator are from the original LC/MS system. Applications of the 2D SFC/SFC/MS methods to the separation and the analysis of racemic pharmaceutical samples in complex mixtures demonstrated that an achiral separation (in first dimension) and a chiral separation (in second dimension) can be successfully combined into a single, streamlined process both in analytical and preparative scale.