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Rapid isolation of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids using monolithic high performance liquid chromatography columns

P. Fagan, C. Wijesundera

Journal of Separation Science, 10.1002/jssc.201201156

Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids are important bio-active fatty acids in fish oils. Monolithic HPLC columns both in the polymeric cation exchange (silver-ion) and RP formats were compared with corresponding packed columns for the isolation of these acids from tuna oil ethyl esters. Monolithic columns in both formats enabled rapid (typically 5–10 min) separations compared with packed columns (30 min). Polymeric monolithic silver-ion disc column rapidly furnished mixtures of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic esters (90% purity) within 5–10 min, but was unable to resolve individual esters. A preparative version of the same column (80 mL bed volume) enabled isolation (>88% purity) of 100 mg quantities of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic esters from esterified tuna oil within 6 min. Baseline separation of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic esters was achieved on all RP columns. The results show that there is potential to use polymeric monolithic cation exchange columns for scaled-up preparation of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic ester concentrates from fish oils.

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