- Peak capacity
- Long columns
- Gradient liquid chromatography
- Protein identification
Optimisation of peak capacity is an important strategy in gradient liquid chromatography (LC). This can be achieved by using either long columns or columns packed with small particles. Monolithic columns allow the use of long columns at relatively low back-pressure. The gain in peak capacity using long columns was evaluated by the separation of a tryptic bovine serum albumin digest with an LC–UV–mass spectrometry (MS) system and monolithic columns of different length (150 and 750 mm). Peak capacities were determined from UV chromatograms and MS/MS data were used for Mascot database searching. Analyses with a similar gradient slope for the two columns produced ratios of the peak capacities that were close to the expected value of the square root of the column length ratio. Peak capacities of the short column were 12.6 and 25.0 with 3 and 15 min gradients, respectively, and 29.7 and 41.0 for the long column with 15 and 75 min gradients, respectively. Protein identification scores were also higher for the long column, 641 and 750 for the 3- and 15-min gradients with the short column and 1,376 and 993 for the 15- and 75-min gradients with the long column. Thus, the use of long monolithic columns provides improved peptide separation and increased reliability of protein identification.