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An improved high performance liquid chromatography-fluorescence detection method for the analysis of major phenolic compounds in cigarette smoke and smokeless tobacco products

Wu, Jingcun, Rickert, William S., Masters, Andrew
Journal of chromatography 2012 v.1264 pp. 40-47
acetonitrile, cigarettes, detection limit, gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography, isomers, mass spectrometry, methanol, particle size, phenols, smokeless tobacco, solvents
An improved HPLC method has been developed for the determination of major phenolic compounds in cigarette smoke. A novel reversed phase column with a pentafluorophenylpropyl (PFP) ligand in the stationary phase was chosen to separate the positional isomers (p-, m-, and o-cresols). Methanol instead of acetonitrile was used as the organic mobile phase component to improve the separation of the isomers and cope with the crisis of global acetonitrile shortage in 2009. A shorter analytical column with smaller particle size was used to further increase separation efficiency and reduces solvent consumption. These improvements have led to a new HPLC method that is simpler and faster than the GC–MS method and more sensitive, selective and efficient than the widely used traditional HPLC method. The limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) of this method are at the ng/mL level for most of the phenols with good linearity (R²≥0.999) and precision (RSD<15%). The method has been validated using reference tobacco products. The mainstream and sidestream cigarette smoke yields of phenolic compounds obtained by this method are comparable to those obtained by traditional HPLC method with the advantage that p-, m-, and o-cresols can be determined and reported separately by the new method. The method can also be applied for analysis of phenols in smokeless tobacco product.