HPLC 2012 was held 16–21 June in Anaheim, California, USA, for the first time in its long history. In this instalment, coverage of some of the technology and application advances is reported. We review the overall liquid-phase chromatographic trends observed at the symposium, the opening plenary session, awards presented, column technology highlights and sample preparation and detector usage.
The 38th International Symposium on High Performance Liquid Phase Separations and Related Techniques, which alternates between Europe and North America with occasional side meetings in Australasia, was held 16–21 June 2012, in Anaheim, California, USA, for the first time (not far from Disneyland). More affectionately known as HPLC 2012, the symposium is the premier scientific event for bringing together the myriad techniques related to separations in liquid and supercritical fluid media. Chaired by Professor Frank Svec of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, USA, HPLC 2012 assembled 830 participants from all over the world. This number included vendor representatives (150) from 52 exhibitors for the three-day instrument, software and consumables exhibition. Based on the lower number of attendees and exhibitors compared to HPLC 2011 in Budapest, the worldwide economic crisis may have played a role in the support for this important conference.
The five-day-plus event had a total of 117 oral presentations in plenary and parallel sessions and 443 posters in sessions with 19 different themes. Attendees had their hands full deciding how to allocate their time with an ample social event schedule including a symposium banquet at Disney California Adventure, nine vendor workshops, six "sunrise" tutorial educational sessions and seven short courses (held during the previous weekend). The tutorials were particularly well attended and covered current topics such as organic monoliths, selectivity optimization, hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC), higher order protein structure, capillary LC and ion chromatography (IC) and supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC).Trends in Liquid Phase Technology and Techniques
Obviously, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was the predominant technology in the technical sessions at the symposium, but sample preparation, the use of electrophoretic techniques (mostly in a capillary format) and an increase in method development and method transfer papers were strongly evident. From a perusal of the poster and oral presentation abstracts and notes from my colleagues, I broke down some of the major areas of coverage in this year's symposium. These tables are useful to spot trends in the technology, applications of liquid phase separations and detection principles that were introduced in this series.
The interest in new research into sub2μm porous packings has waned a bit this year, probably because these columns are now firmly established in the ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC) world with more than 30 vendors supplying these products. On the other hand, there were considerable discussions about the practicality of whether the next generation of smaller totally porous particles or superficially porous particles will approach the 1-μm dimensions.
Sample preparation technology was well represented in the poster papers and two oral sessions were devoted to some of the current techniques. Most prominent were improved solid-phaseextraction (SPE) and solid-phase microextraction (SPME) technologies with new phase chemistries: monoliths, immobilized enzyme in situ reactors, molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs), dispersiveSPE phases for QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe) and mixed-mode phases providing new selectivities.
Electro-driven separation techniques (for example, capillary electrophoresis (CE), capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE), micellar electrokinetic chromatography (MEKC) and isoelectric focusing (IEF) showed a slight drop-off compared to HPLC 2011 (1), but continued to see a strong following in the application papers with great strides being made in interfacing to mass spectrometry (MS). The developing interest in biopharmaceuticals has spurred a renewed interest in CE technologies for the separation of biomolecules. A continued lack of interest in capillary electrochromatography (CEC) was noted with only nine presentations at HPLC 2012.