High performance membrane chromatography (HPMC) proved to be a very efficient method for fast protein separations. Recently, it was shown to be applicable also for the isocratic separation of plasmid DNAconformations. However, no study about the separation of small molecules was performed until now. In this work, we investigated the possibility of gradient and isocratic separations of small molecules with Convective Interaction Media (CIM) disks of different chemistries. We proved that it was possible to achieve efficient separations of oligonucleotides and peptides in the ion-exchange mode as well as the separation of small hydrophobic molecules in the reversed phase mode. Fairly good separation of four oligonucleotides could be achieved on the disk of 0.3 mm thickness. The effect of the gradient parameters on the resolution in the case of gradient mode was studied and compared with the separation under isocratic conditions.
It was shown that similar peak resolution can be achieved in both gradient and isocratic modes. In addition, it was found that the flow rate does not have a pronounced influence on the resolution in the flow rate range between 1 and 10 mL/min. However, it seems that the resolution with the flow rate even slightly increases as a consequence of the increased pore accessibility. In accordance with conventional particle HPLC columns, the resolution increases with the monolith thickness. On the other hand, the mobile phase composition has to be carefully adjusted to obtain optimal resolution, especially in the case of isocratic separations. Because of this feature, CIM monoliths seem to be competitive to other, commercially available stationary phases.