Reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) is very widely used for the separation and characterization of proteins and peptides. A novel type of highly stable silica-based stationary phase has been developed for protein separations. A dense monolayer of dimethyl-(chloromethyl)phenylethyl)- chlorosilane (DM-CMPES) on the surface of silica is "hyper- crosslinked" with a polyfunctional aromatic crosslinker through Friedel-Crafts chemistry resulting in stationary phases with extraordinary stability in acidic media. Elemental analysis data confirm the high degree of cross-linking among the surface groups. The hyper-crosslinked phases are extremely stable under highly acidic mobile phase conditions even at a temperature as high as 150°C. A wide-pore (300 Å) material made in this way is used here to separate proteins by a reversed-phase mechanism and compared to a commercially available "sterically protected" C 18 phase. For small molecules, including neutral and basic compounds, these crosslinked phases give comparable peak shape and efficiency to the commercial phase. Our results show that no pore blockage takes place as commonly afflicts polymer coated phases. In consequence, protein separations on the new phases are acceptable. Using strong ion-pairing reagents, such as HPF 6, improves the separation efficiency. Compared to the commercial phases, these new phases can be used at lower pHs and much higher temperatures thereby enabling much faster separations which is the primary focus of this work. Better efficiency for proteins was obtained at high temperature. However, at conventional linear velocities the instability of proteins at high temperature becomes a problem which establishes an upper temperature limit. Uses of a narrowbore column and high flow rates both solves this problem by reducing the time that proteins spend on the hot column and, of course, speeds up the separation of the protein mixture. Finally, an ultrafast gradient (<1 min) protein separation was obtained by utilizing the high temperature and thus high linear velocities afforded by the extreme stability of these new phases. The phases are stable even after 50 h of exposure to 0.1% TFA at 120°C. This paper is dedicated to the memory of Csaba Horvath whose work in high temperature HPLC inspired the development of the stationary phases described here.
- High temperature