Universal Method for Online Enrichment of Target Compounds in Capillary Gas Chromatography Using In-Oven Cryotrapping
A method is described that permits automated online enrichment of injected compounds in multidimensional gas chromatography by using a microfluidic heart-cut (H-C) device to direct target compounds into a cryogenically cooled internal trap (cryotrap, CT). By performing multiple injections of a sample, selected compounds or regions of a primary column separation can be collected in the CT. Remobilizing the trapped species allows elution and further resolution on the second column. Using a well-balanced H-C device, compounds can be fully excluded from the collection step or quantitatively transferred to the CT. Peak areas of the remobilized compound correlate well with the number of sample injections. Trapping on various column phases shows the method is suited to quantitative trapping of alkanes of mass greater than about dodecane and fatty acid methyl esters greater than the C8 homologue. Caffeine and menthol standards of concentration 100 ?g mL?1 gave peak area correlation coefficients for 1?10 and 1?50 replicate split injections of 1 ?L volume of 0.999 and 0.996, respectively. Peak height correlations were less favorable as a result of peak broadening on the second column, presumably due to overloading at greater collected mass. The method was applied to 0.2% solutions of peppermint oil (menthol; a major component; 44%) and 1.0% lavender oil (α-terpineol and neryl acetate; minor components of 1.05 and 0.42% abundance). The minor components gave good area and height correlations, and good recovery around 90% was observed for menthol compounds recovered from 15 accumulations. Response amplification was further demonstrated for menthol from mint oil headspace sampling using solid phase microextraction. This approach should be a valuable adjunct for improved detection specificity, for detectors of low sensitivity, and when prior sample concentration provides insufficient response of selected target analytes.