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Sampling strategies for capillary isoelectric focusing with electroosmotic zone mobilization assessed by high-resolution dynamic computer simulation


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Correspondence: Professor Wolfgang Thormann, Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Visceral Research, Murtenstrasse 35, Bern CH-3010, Switzerland

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The impact of initial sample distribution on separation and focusing of analytes in a pH 3–11 gradient formed by 101 biprotic carrier ampholytes under concomitant electroosmotic displacement was studied by dynamic high-resolution computer simulation. Data obtained with application of the analytes mixed with the carrier ampholytes (as is customarily done), as a short zone within the initial carrier ampholyte zone, sandwiched between zones of carrier ampholytes, or introduced before or after the initial carrier ampholyte zone were compared. With sampling as a short zone within or adjacent to the carrier ampholytes, separation and focusing of analytes is shown to proceed as a cationic, anionic, or mixed process and separation of the analytes is predicted to be much faster than the separation of the carrier components. Thus, after the initial separation, analytes continue to separate and eventually reach their focusing locations. This is different to the double-peak approach to equilibrium that takes place when analytes and carrier ampholytes are applied as a homogenous mixture. Simulation data reveal that sample application between two zones of carrier ampholytes results in the formation of a pH gradient disturbance as the concentration of the carrier ampholytes within the fluid element initially occupied by the sample will be lower compared to the other parts of the gradient. As a consequence thereof, the properties of this region are sample matrix dependent, the pH gradient is flatter, and the region is likely to represent a conductance gap (hot spot). Simulation data suggest that sample placed at the anodic side or at the anodic end of the initial carrier ampholyte zone are the favorable configurations for capillary isoelectric focusing with electroosmotic zone mobilization.