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J Sep Sci. 2013 Jun;36(11):1743-52. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201201156.

Rapid isolation of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids using monolithic high performance liquid chromatography columns.

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CSIRO Food Futures Flagship (Future Grains), Werribee, Victoria, Australia.


Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids are important bio-active fatty acids in fish oils. Monolithic HPLC columns both in the polymeric cation exchange (silver-ion) and RP formats were compared with corresponding packed columns for the isolation of these acids from tuna oil ethyl esters. Monolithic columns in both formats enabled rapid (typically 5-10 min) separations compared with packed columns (30 min). Polymeric monolithic silver-ion disc column rapidly furnished mixtures of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic esters (90% purity) within 5-10 min, but was unable to resolve individual esters. A preparative version of the same column (80 mL bed volume) enabled isolation (>88% purity) of 100 mg quantities of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic esters from esterified tuna oil within 6 min. Baseline separation of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic esters was achieved on all RP columns. The results show that there is potential to use polymeric monolithic cation exchange columns for scaled-up preparation of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic ester concentrates from fish oils.

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