The present research is focused on the evaluation, in terms of efficiency and polarity, of a recently introduced gas chromatography (GC) column, coated with a 1,12-di(tripropylphosphonium) dodecane bis(trifluoromethansulfonyl) amide ionic-liquid stationary phase (SLB-IL59) and its application to the analysis of a complex essential oil. The ionic liquid column demonstrated very good efficiency, in terms of plate number, and a polarity close to that of the 100% poly(ethyleneglycol) stationary phase. In this preliminary evaluation, the SLB-IL59 30 m column was subjected to bleeding measurements, by means of conventional gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and, in addition, of comprehensive 2D GC. The SLB-IL59 column (30 m x 0.20 mu m d(theta) 0.25 mm i.d.) was then evaluated in the analysis of typical essential oil constituents, in the form of pure standard compounds. Resolution toward several analytes was measured and the results were compared to those obtained with both apolar [silphenylene polymer, equivalent to poly(5% diphenyl/95% dimethylsiloxane)] and medium-polarity [100% poly(ethyleneglycol)] stationary phases, namely, the most common columns employed in the analysis of essential oils; peak symmetry, for different essential oil constituents, was also measured and expressed through tailing factors (at 10% of peak height). The final part of the investigation was devoted to the GC/MS analysis of lemon essential oil, with GC-flame ionization detection (FID) used for quantification. Linear retention indices of all the identified compounds were determined, and the data obtained were compared to those attained on the apolar and "wax" columns. The results obtained in the present investigation reveal the great potential of this novel stationary phase, as a medium-polarity alternative, in the analysis of essential oils.
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