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Abstract

Mobile-phase additives, commonly used to modulate absorbate retention in gradient elution chromatography, are usually assumed to be either linearly retained or unretained. Previous theoretical work from our laboratory has shown that these modulators, such as salts in ion-exchange and hydrophobic interaction chromatography and organic modifiers in reversed-phase chromatography, can absorb nonlinearly, giving rise to gradient deformation. Consequently, adsorbate peaks that elute in the vicinity of the head of the deformed gradient may exhibit unusual shapes, form shoulders, and/or be concentrated. These effects for a reversed-phase sorbent with aqueous acetonitrile (ACN) as the modulator are verified experimentally. Gradient deformation is demonstrated experimentally and agrees with simulations based on ACN isotherm parameters that are independently determined from batch equilibrium studies using the layer model. Unusual adsorbate peak shapes were found experimentally for single-component injections of phenylalanine, similar to those calculated by the simulations. A binary mixture of tryptophan and phenylalanine is used to demonstrate simultaneous concentration and separation, again in agreement with simulations. The possibility of gradient deformation in ion-exchange and hydrophobic interaction chromatography is discussed.