Modulation of retention and selectivity in oil-in-water microemulsion liquid chromatography: A review.


Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Valencia, Dr. Moliner 50, 46100 Burjassot, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


Microemulsions (MEs) are stable, isotropically clear solutions consisting of an oil and water stabilized by a surfactant and a co-surfactant. Oil-in-water microemuslion liquid chromatography (MELC) is a relatively new chromatographic mode, which uses an O/W ME as mobile phase. Retention, selectivity and efficiency can be modified by changing the concentration of the ME components and the ratio between the aqueous and oil phases. This work makes a critical survey on the information found in the literature about the mobile phase compositions that lead to the creation of successful O/W ME mobile phases, as well as the effect of pH for ionizable compounds and temperature. The viability of performing the analyses using isocratic and gradient elution is also considered. The complexity of the composition of a successful ME, and the fact that the different factors interact each other, may require many manipulations during method development to achieve an acceptable separation for complex mixtures. This is the reason of the proposal from several authors of a standard ME as starting point when developing a method for a new separation with no previous reports. Based on these initial conditions, the interest of several authors in applying computer-assisted approaches to optimize the composition of ME mobile phases, and reduce significantly the time and reagent consumption for method development, is described. Some practical tips are given to prepare stable ME mobile phases that yield reproducible results.


Experimental factors,Microemulsion liquid chromatography,Modulation of selectivity,Oil-in-water microemulsions,Optimization of resolution,