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LC Column Storage

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Good chromatography isn’t just about when the pumps are running. Taking care of your column when not in use is important for lifetime and reproducible performance. When shelving a column, be sure to flush out any buffers or other additives. You can use a solvent mix similar to initial run conditions, just without additives, and that can be good for a couple days of storage. For longer term storage, you should choose a storage solvent appropriate to your column and method. And always make sure to document the date and storage solvent, so you have the information you need to get back up and running as soon as possible. 

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Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us for this Restek Tip. Our topic today is LC column storage. Now, you probably use a variety of phases in your lab because you know a C18 can’t do everything. But when it comes time to give a column a break, it’s important to store it properly, so it’s ready to go the next time you need it. The first thing to do is flush out any buffers, acids, or bases that are part of mobile phase system. And, this is important because any particulate from the buffer could precipitate and clog the column. Too much acid left in the column could hydrolyze the ligand from the silica surface, and too much base could start to dissolve the silica particle itself. So, the best way to do this flushing is to prepare a mobile phase that matches the initial conditions of your run, but without the additives. Flush this through the column for 10 to 20 column volumes. And for short-term storage, like a couple of days, it’s okay to leave this solvent in the column.

If you’re storing for a longer time, like a week or more, you flush initially as mentioned before, and then you prepare a storage solvent, with 50% water and 50% organic matching the solvent that you used in your method. Flush for another 10 to 20 column volumes. And for either type of storage, make sure the column plugs are tight so it doesn’t dry out. It’s a good idea to label the column with a date, and also the storage solvent, so you know how to properly equilibrate it the next time you need to put it back to work. Store the columns in a rack or in a drawer, and make sure to avoid temperature extremes to ensure long lifetime and good column performance. Thanks for joining us, and stay tuned for more tips from your friends at Restek.


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