Coupling of chiral and achiral stationary phases in supercritical fluid chromatography: Evaluating and improving retention prediction

Petra Riasová, Pavel Jáč, Miroslav Polášek, Yvan Vander Heyden, Debby Mangelings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Isomers and stereoisomers are always challenging to separate. Column coupling may provide improved chromatographic selectivity, necessary for the separation of the compounds with similar chemical and structural properties. The relatively low viscosity of supercritical fluids, used as mobile phases allows for the coupling of several columns in series in supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC), without exceeding the pressure limits of the system. The aim of this study is to propose reliable prediction of the retention behaviour of analytes on a coupled column system, based on a limited number of initial analyses. The chiral compounds atenolol, ephedrine, propranolol, mianserin, labetalol and nadolol, besides the diastereomers quinine and quinidine, and the structural isomers of aminophenol and aminocresol were used as model analytes. The retention behaviour of the analytes was determined on the individual chiral columns Lux Cellulose-1, Lux Cellulose-2, Lux Cellulose-3, Lux Cellulose-4, Lux Amylose-2 and the achiral columns Luna NH2, Luna Silica, Synergi RP and FluoroSep RP. The mobile phase was composed of CO2 mixed with 20% (v/v) MeOH, which contained 0.1% (v/v) trifluoroacetic acid and 0.1% (v/v) isopropylamine. The retention factors of the analytes on coupled stationary phases were predicted, and subsequently compared to the experimentally obtained ones. Relative deviations of predicted and experimental retention factors were in range from 0.00% to 51.91%. Flow rate and back pressure of the screening conditions were adjusted to improve prediction precision on four column combinations, with varying success rates. The average relative deviations of retention factors were reduced to 2.84% - 6.59% by adjusting flow rate, and to 2.30% - 8.57% by adjusting back pressure. The most successful approach, flow rate adjustment, was then applied to select a column combination providing improved resolution of the structurally similar components of silymarin extract.

Original languageEnglish
Article number462883
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chromatography. A
Early online date6 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier B.V.


  • Chiral and achiral separations
  • Column coupling
  • Retention prediction
  • Supercritical fluid chromatography


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