A survey was conducted to determine the reproducibility of retention times in both the first (D1) and second dimension (D2) axes of the two-dimensional separation space, in the comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatographic analysis of an essential oil sample using cryogenic modulation. The retention times in the two dimensions for a number of individual components comprising hydrocarbon, alcohol, ester and ketone chemical classes in a Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil were recorded from replicate analyses using four separate column sets and two identical gas chromatographs. Run-to-run, day-to-day, instrument-to-instrument, and column set-to-column set reproducibility were demonstrated from the experimental design. A total of 60 GCXGC analyses were conducted. The longitudinally modulated cryogenic system produced reproducible modulation start times and consistent modulation phase profiles for individual components in all experiments, and retention time variations in both dimensions were negligible. The average run-to-run reproducibility of 43 components for six replicate injections was found to be 0.12% RSD in the first dimension, and 0.74% RSD in the second dimension. Day-to-day reproducibility showed statistically "significant" difference (F-test), but this was partly ascribable to the excellent within-day reproducibility that led to apparent day-to-day differences. Confidence in absolute retention times (hence component positions) in the two-dimensional separation space is critical to component identification.
- Cryogenic modulation
- Gas chromatography, comprehensive two-dimensional
- Retention time