Effects of organic solvents on sample pretreatment and separation performances in capillary electrophoresis

Carmen W K HUIE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


A review of recent developments in theoretical as well as application studies concerning the use of organic solvents, either as purely nonaqueous solvents, hydro-organic mixtures, or a combination of an organic solvent with another organic modifier(s), in the sample matrix and/or separation buffer for effecting sample pretreatment and/or improving separation performances in capillary electrophoresis (CE) is presented. In particular, recent advances made in furthering the basic understanding of selectivity changes that occur in capillary zone electrophoresis due the presence of organic solvents in the separation medium, based on in-depth studies of fundamental processes, such as acid-base chemistry, ion-ion and ion-solvent interactions, were discussed in detail. The utilization of organic solvents for improving the resolution of highly challenging and important separations, i.e., those involving the separation of positional and optical isomers, was also critically reviewed. Furthermore, a comprehensive survey of the use of organic solvents for on-line sample pretreatment, e.g., minimizing aggregration and maximizing solubilization of hydrophobic analytes, improving concentration detection sensitivity for analytes via the use of sample stacking, was presented and discussed. Moreover, recent applications involving the use of organic solvents for improving the CE separations of a variety of molecular species with significance in various disciplines, including biological, environmental and pharmaceutical areas, were summarized and tabulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1508-1529
Number of pages22
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2003

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Fundamental studies
  • Optical isomers
  • Organic solvents
  • Positional isomers
  • Review
  • Sample pretreatment


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