Recent applications of microemulsion electrokinetic chromatography

Carmen W K HUIE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Compared to MEKC, the presence of a water-immiscible oil phase in the microemulsion droplets of microemulsion EKC (MEEKC) gives rise to some special properties, such as enhanced solubilization capacity and enlarged migration window, which could allow for the improved separation of various hydrophobic and hydrophilic compounds, with reduced sample pretreatment steps, unique selectivities and/or higher efficiencies. Typically, stable and optically clear oil-in-water microemulsions containing a surfactant (SDS), oil (octane or heptane), and cosurfactant (1-butanol) in phosphate buffer are employed as separation media in conventional MEEKC. However, in recent years, the applicability of reverse MEEKC (water-in-oil microemulsions) has also been demonstrated, such as for the enhanced separation of highly hydrophobic substances. Also, during the past few years, the development and application of MEEKC for the separation of chiral molecules has been expanded, based on the use of enantioselective microemulsions that contained a chiral surfactant or chiral alcohol. On the other hand, the application of MEEKC for the characterization of the lipophilicity of chemical substances remains an active and important area of research, such as the use of multiplex MEEKC for the high-throughput determination of partition coefficients (log P values) of pharmaceutical compounds. In this review, recent applications of MEEKC (covering the period from 2003 to 2005) are reported. Emphases are placed on the discussion of MEEKC in the separation of chiral molecules and highly hydrophobic substances, as well as in the determination of partition coefficients, followed by a survey of recent applications of MEEKC in the analysis of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and health-care products, biological and environmental compounds, plant materials, and foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-75
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chiral separations
  • Highly hydrophobic substances
  • Microemulsion electrokinetic chromatography
  • Partition coefficients
  • Review


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