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J Chromatogr A. 2009 Sep 25;1216(39):6695-705. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2009.07.062. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Effect of mobile phase anionic additives on selectivity, efficiency, and sample loading capacity of cationic drugs in reversed-phase liquid chromatography.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Minnesota, 207 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


In the present work, we study the effect of mobile phase anionic additive type and concentration on the selectivity, efficiency, and sample loading capacity of cationic drugs in reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC). The type and concentration of an anionic additive are known to have a strong effect on the absolute retention of cations in RPLC; in contrast they have only a small effect on the selectivity of one cation relative to a second as seen here. This is mainly due to the similarity of the ion pair formation constants between the selected cations. The limiting retention factors of cations (i.e. the retention factor of the fully ion-paired analyte at very high additive concentration) are roughly proportional to their inherent hydrophobicities (i.e. the retention factor of the analyte in the absence of the anionic additive). With a given anion, differences in ion pairing strength between the solutes are required for effective selectivity adjustment. Based on the Wade-Lucy-Carr (W-L-C) kinetic model of overload peaks, the approach we developed in our previous work was used to study the effect of mobile phase anionic additives type and concentration on the limiting plate count (N(0)) and sample loading capacity (omega(0.5)) of various cationic drugs. Under linear chromatographic conditions, where the analyte exhibits its smallest peak width and thus maximum apparent plate count, the type and concentration of anionic additives have almost no effect on peak width. In comparison to neutral analytes the sorption isotherms of cationic species are very easily overloaded even when many fewer moles of cations as compared to neutrals are injected. We showed that different anionic additives profoundly affect the cations' "overload profiles" (i.e. plots of plate count versus amount injected) by changing the sample loading capacities. The increase in sample loading capacities with different anions show the same order as the extent of ion pairing between the anions and the basic analytes. The detrimental effect of sample overloading on peak width can be greatly diminished by using either a stronger ion pairing agent or a higher concentration of a given ion pairing agent. Both effects operate by increasing the sample loading capacity, thereby allowing more solute to be injected. We believe that the increase in sample loading capacity described above is due in part to the increase in the number of ion-exchange sites as more anions sorb to the stationary phase. At the same time, the formation of a neutral ion-paired analyte also increases the amount of cation which can be loaded onto the stationary phase by allowing a greater fraction of the analyte to be present in the stationary phase as an electrically neutral (i.e. ion-paired) species.

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