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J Chromatogr A. 2011 Dec 2;1218(48):8715-7. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2011.09.083. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Organic high ionic strength aqueous two-phase solvent system series for separation of ultra-polar compounds by spiral high-speed counter-current chromatography.

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Bioseparation Technology Laboratory, Biochemistry and Biophysics Center, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Existing two-phase solvent systems for high-speed countercurrent chromatography cover the separation of hydrophobic to moderately polar compounds, but often fail to provide suitable partition coefficient values for highly polar compounds, such as sulfonic acids, catecholamines and zwitter ions. The present paper introduces a new solvent series which can be applied for the separation of these polar compounds. It is composed of 1-butanol, ethanol, saturated ammonium sulfate and water at various volume ratios and consists of a series of 10 steps which are arranged according to the polarity of the solvent system so that the two-phase solvent system with suitable K values for the target compound(s) can be found in a few steps. Each solvent system gives proper volume ratio and high density difference between the two phases to provide a satisfactory level of retention of the stationary phase in the spiral column assembly. The method is validated by partition coefficient measurement of four typical polar compounds including methyl green (basic dye), tartrazine (sulfonic acid), tyrosine (zwitter ion) and epinephrine (a catecholamine), all of which show low partition coefficient values in the polar 1-butanol-water system. The capability of the method is demonstrated by separation of three catecholamines.

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