Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Abdul Malik, Ph.D.


Protein, Amino acid, Positively charged surface coating, Negatively charged surface coating, Sulfonated sol-gel column, C18-TMS sol-gel column


Novel on-line methods are presented for the extraction, preconcentration and analysis of zwitterionic biomolecules using sol-gel-coated columns coupled to a conventional UV/visible detector. The presented approaches do not require any additional modification of the commercially available standard CE instrument. Extraction, stacking, and focusing techniques were used in the preconcentration procedures. The positively charged sol-gel coatings were created using N-octadecyldimethyl[3-(trimethoxysilyl) proply]ammonium chloride (C18-TMS) in the coating sol solutions. Due to the presence of a positively charged quaternary ammonium moiety in C18-TMS, the resulting sol-gel coating carried a positive charge. The negatively charged sol-gel coatings were due to the presence of sulfonate groups, which was formed from the oxidation of thiol groups in precursor mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTMS) by hydrogen peroxide.

Besides MPTMS, tetramethoxysilane (TMOS) and n-octadecyltriethoxysilane (C18-TEOS) were also used to prepare the sol solution for the creation of the negatively charged coatings. For extraction, the pH of the samples was properly adjusted to impart a net charge opposite to the sol-gel coatings. When a long plug of the sample was passed through the sol-gel-coated capillary, extraction was achieved via electrostatic interaction between the charged sol-gel coating and the charged sample molecules. The extracted analytes were then desorbed and focused via local pH change and stacking. The local pH change was accomplished by passing buffer solutions with proper pH values, while a dynamic pH junction between the sample solution and the background electrolyte was utilized to facilitate solute focusing. The developed methods showed excellent extraction and preconcentration effects on both positively and negatively charged sol-gel-coated columns.

On-line preconcentration and analysis results obtained on the sol-gel coated columns were compared with those obtained on an uncoated fused silica capillary of identical dimensions using conventional sample injections. The described procedure provided a 150 000-fold enrichment effect for alanine on the positively charged sol-gel-coated column. On the negatively charged sol-gel-coated column, the presented sample preconcentration technique provided a sensitivity enhancement factor (SEF) on the order of 3 x 103 for myoglobin, and 7 x 103 for asparagines. The developed methods provided acceptable repeatability in terms of both peak height and migration time.