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Keywords:

  • Carrier ampholytes;
  • IEF;
  • Isotachophoresis;
  • Sample application;
  • Simulation

The behavior of sample components whose pI values are outside the pH gradient established by 101 hypothetical biprotic carrier ampholytes covering a pH 6–8 range was investigated by computer simulation under constant current conditions with concomitant constant electroosmosis toward the cathode. Data obtained with the sample being applied between zones of carrier ampholytes and on the anodic side of the carrier ampholytes were studied and found to evolve into zone structures comprising three regions between anolyte and catholyte. The focusing region with the pH gradient is bracketed by two isotachopheretic zone structures comprising selected sample and carrier components as isotachophoretic zones. The isotachophoretic structures electrophoretically migrate in opposite direction and their lengths increase with time due to the gradual isotachophoretic decay at the pH gradient edges. Due to electroosmosis, however, the overall pattern is being transported toward the cathode. Sample components whose pI values are outside the established pH gradient are demonstrated to form isotachophoretic zones behind the leading cation of the catholyte (components with pI values larger than 8) and the leading anion of the anolyte (components with pI values smaller than 6). Amphoteric compounds with appropriate pI values or nonamphoteric components can act as isotachophoretic spacer compounds between sample compounds or between the leader and the sample with the highest mobility. The simulation data obtained provide for the first time insight into the dynamics of amphoteric sample components that do not focus within the established pH gradient.