Separation of microcystins and nodularins by ultra performance liquid chromatography

Lisa Spoof, Milla Riina Neffling, Jussi Meriluoto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Four ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) columns with different reversed-phase characteristics were tested in the chromatographic separation of 10 microcystins and three nodularins, cyanobacterial peptide toxins. The columns had been designed by the manufacturer to withstand the ultra-high pressure generated by sub-2 μm stationary phase particles and the Waters ACQUITY UPLC system in ultra-fast separations. The gradient mobile phase consisted of water and acetonitrile, both acidified with trifluoroacetic acid, with three gradient rise times: 1, 1.5 and 2 min. The UV detection of the toxins was performed by a photodiode array detector. The chromatographic performance was evaluated both visually and by calculating chromatographic parameters such as capacity factor, resolution, peak width at half height, selectivity and peak asymmetry. The best chromatographic performance as judged by visual inspection was given by the ACQUITY BEH Shield RP18 and ACQUITY BEH Phenyl columns. The BEH Shield RP18 column showed excellent selectivity and resolution of chosen peak pairs considered as critical. A further advantage of the UPLC system was the high sample throughput with a total analysis time of 3.12 min (injection-to-injection) equalling to 461 separations per 24 h.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3822-3830
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Microcystins
  • Nodularins
  • Reversed-phase
  • Sub-2 μm particles
  • Toxins
  • Ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC)


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