Surface hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity of chromatographic stationary phases is one of the important characteristics that influence the chromatographic column performance. On the one hand, the surface should be highly hydrophilic to avoid nonspecific adsorption of sample molecules; on the other hand, the hydrophobic surface is crutial to e.g. separate the molecule isoforms.Therefore, fast and easy characterization method to evaluate the surface „hydrophobic/hydrophilic character" could be valuable.
First stage in the development of this method and the objective of this study was to evaluate the hydrophobicity of test set of 1 mL CIM columns with different ligand chemistries and densities. This was achieved by separation of protein mixture under hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) conditions. Proteins were used since monoliths are used mainly in downstream of large biomolecules.
Moreover, since poor recovery under HIC conditions was observed on some columns, the research was additionally expanded with reversed phase chromatography (RPC) to obtain extra information about even more hydrophobic surface properties of monolithic columns. Therefore, after HIC step the RPC step followed and additional elution of proteins was achieved.