, Volume 76, Issue 23-24, pp 1631-1639
Date: 29 Aug 2013

Separation of 9 Sulfonamide Drugs in ≈4 Min by Ultra-High Performance Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (UHPSFC): with a Feasibility Study for Detection in Milk

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Abstract

Nine widely used veterinary sulfonamide drugs were baseline separated (R s ≥1.5) in just over 4 min using a 3 × 100 mm, 1.8 μm RX-Sil column, with 9.2 % methanol in carbon dioxide, at 110 bar and 30 °C, with direct UV detection at 260 nm using a 3 mm, 2 μL tapered flow cell. Pressure drop was only 172 bar. Optimization was difficult due to the similarity in structures. Small changes in modifier concentration, temperature and pressure, each tended to improve the resolution of some peak pairs but degraded the resolution of others. There were four critical pairs, each responding differently to changes in conditions. Optimization was performed by plotting resolution between pairs as a function of modifier concentration first, temperature second, and outlet pressure third. Retention time was then minimized by changing flow rate. The estimated limit of quantitation (LOQ, S/N >10), for direct injections, was ≈200–400 ng/g of each, inadequate for regulatory requirements. Solid phase extraction (SPE) attempted to pre-concentrate samples spiked with sulfamethazine by ≈20:1. From water, the limit of detection (LOD) was ≈2.7 ng/mL with LOQ ≈9 ng/mL using UV at 260 nm. The LOD for milk was 6.2 ng/mL, and LOQ was 20.1 ng/mL. A better pre-concentration step or a more sensitive detector such as MS–MS is required. Even with these inadequacies, SFC was shown to be a feasible, faster, “greener” alternative to HPLC for the separation of these drugs.