Signs of column deterioration

Deterioration is one of the most frequent issues encountered with analytical columns and applies to all bonded reversed or normal phase columns. Reverse phase C-18 columns are   commonly used for biorelevant drug analysis. Deterioration and degradation of HPLC column are accelerated if an inappropriate mobile phase (e.g. high-water content or high buffer to solvent ratio) is used with biorelevant media.







Common indicators of deterioration are peak splitting, reduced retention time, abnormal peak shape and loss of resolution as illustrated below.












Figure: Poor resolution between Non-drug and Drug peak with having unusual peak symmetry

Frequent occurrence of these events may indicate that the column is deteriorating and may increase the probability of analytical error.

To maximize the column life, it is also important to preserve and store the HPLC column appropriately once the drug has been analysed in the biorelevant media using HPLC. Appropriate storage and preservation of HPLC column not only helps to increase the HPLC column life but also supports the generation of the accurate results and helps improve the robustness of your analysis.

If columns are treated appropriately: i.e. washed, injected  and stored correctly, the life of a column should not be adversely affected by using biorelevant media.