Enhanced Fluidity Liquid Chromatography: A Guide to Scaling Up from Analytical to Preparative Separations


Merck & Co.


The evolution of supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) instrumentation, improved detection capability, and expanded modifier range has led to extending the reach of SFC to the analysis of a broader spectrum of analytes beyond enantioselective separations. However, preparative SFC has yet to see the same technological revitalization, especially in regards to the purification of highly polar analytes. Enhanced fluidity liquid chromatography (EFLC) has been demonstrated as one of the ways to extend the applicable range of SFC instrumentation to highly polar analytes such as proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleotides. Despite recent applications of EFLC for challenging mixtures of hydrophilic metabolites and analogs, its viability in preparative purification, which is of great importance to the pharmaceutical industry, remains unknown. Herein, multiple chromatographic parameters that are critical to achieve feasible EFLC purification methods were investigated, including system pressure as a function of modifier composition (for several MeOH:H2O ratios), effect of diluent injection conditions on peak shape, and optimization of mass load with diluent composition. The usage of 50% acetonitrile or methanol diluents provided the most volumetric loading capacity. In the case of sucrose, leveraging higher analyte solubility in water proved to be more favorable than the volumetric loading capacity of diluents with higher organic content. In fact, an 80 mg injection of sucrose was possible on a 2 cm preparative HILIC column with minimal peak shape degradation. The combined information led to the successful demonstration of EFLC for the preparative separation of sugars using readily available MS-directed SFC instrumentation.