Purification of basic drugs in reversed-phase mode is often difficult, mainly due to adsorption of positively charged compounds to the silica gel-based stationary phase. Since this adsorption can be suppressed under alkaline condition, columns with alkali-resistance are required. In addition, compounds with acid-sensitive structures are sometimes degraded during separation on silica gel-based columns which exhibit acidity due to their surface structure. We prepared an alkali-resistant reversed-phase packing material, Eggshell-PMAcO based on eggshells modified with an amphiphilic copolymer, poly(maleic acid-alt-1-octadecene) (PMAcO). The height equivalent to a theoretical plate (HETP) of the Eggshell-PMAcO column was improved by surface treatment with ammonium acetate buffer (900 mM, pH = 3.7), which is an inexpensive reagent, and the retention behavior for hydrophobic compounds was compared to a typical ODS column based on silica gel, resulting in sufficient selectivity of the eggshell-based column for hydrophobic compounds, as indicated by the ratio of retention factors of pentylbenzene and butylbenzene (Eggshell-PMAcO column: 1.55, ODS column: 1.65). Column temperature-dependent retention behavior of naphthalene was investigated in the temperature range from 25 °C to 45 °C, followed by the calculation of thermodynamic parameters. There was little difference in the standard molar enthalpy (Eggshell-PMAcO: −19.6 kJ/mol, ODS: −21.7 kJ/mol). The absolute value of the standard free Gibbs energy for the Eggshell-PMAcO column was much smaller than that of the ODS column (Eggshell-PMAcO: −0.284 kJ/mol, ODS: −13.0 kJ/mol), indicating that the Eggshell-PMAcO column had a weaker retention strength for naphthalene than the ODS column mainly due to the large difference in the standard molar entropy (Eggshell-PMAcO: −64.9 J/mol K, ODS column: −29.2 J/mol K). The retention capacities for imipramine under neutral (water/methanol) and alkaline (0.1% triethylamine water/methanol) conditions were 0.2 mg and 5 mg, respectively, based on injection mass-dependent HETP, retention factor and symmetry factor. Finally, the prepared column was applied to the purification of a building block for nucleic acid drugs. This study demonstrated that reversed-phase columns, which can be fabricated from eggshells and an amphiphilic copolymer in an inexpensive and eco-friendly way, have the ability to purify basic compounds and acid-sensitive compounds.
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