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Improving the Sensitivity, Resolution, and Peak Capacity of Gradient Elution in Capillary Liquid Chromatography with Large-Volume Injections by Using Temperature-Assisted On-Column Solute Focusing.


ABSTRACT: Capillary HPLC (cLC) with gradient elution is the separation method of choice for the fields of proteomics and metabolomics. This is due to the complementary nature of cLC flow rates and electrospray or nanospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The small column diameters result in good mass sensitivity. Good concentration sensitivity is also possible by injection of relatively large volumes of solution and relying on solvent-based solute focusing. However, if the injection volume is too large or solutes are poorly retained during injection, volume overload occurs which leads to altered peak shapes, decreased sensitivity, and lower peak capacity. Solutes that elute early even with the use of a solvent gradient are especially vulnerable to this problem. In this paper, we describe a simple, automated instrumental method, temperature-assisted on-column solute focusing (TASF), that is capable of focusing large volume injections of small molecules and peptides under gradient conditions. By injecting a large sample volume while cooling a short segment of the column inlet at subambient temperatures, solutes are concentrated into narrow bands at the head of the column. Rapidly raising the temperature of this segment of the column leads to separations with less peak broadening in comparison to solvent focusing alone. For large volume injections of both mixtures of small molecules and a bovine serum albumin tryptic digest, TASF improved the peak shape and resolution in chromatograms. TASF showed the most dramatic improvements with shallow gradients, which is particularly useful for biological applications. Results demonstrate the ability of TASF with gradient elution to improve the sensitivity, resolution, and peak capacity of volume overloaded samples beyond gradient compression alone. Additionally, we have developed and validated a double extrapolation method for predicting retention factors at extremes of temperature and mobile phase composition. Using this method, the effects of TASF can be predicted, allowing determination of the usefulness of this technique for a particular application.

SUBMITTER: Wilson RE 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4940048 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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