The modification of the surface of silica gel to prepare hydrophilic chromatographic fillers has recently become a research interest. Most researchers have grafted natural sugar-containing polymers onto chromatographic surfaces. The disadvantage of this approach is that the packing structure is singular and the application scope is limited. In this paper, we explore the innovative technique of grafting a sugar-containing polymer, 2-gluconamidoethyl methacrylamide (GAEMA), onto the surface of silica gel by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). The SiO2
-g-GAEMA with ATRP reaction time was characterized by Fourier infrared analysis, Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and elemental analysis. As the reaction time lengthened, the amount of GAEMA grafted on the surface of the silica gel gradually increased. The GAEMA is rich in amide bonds and hydroxyl groups and is a typical hydrophilic chromatography filler. Finally, SiO2
-g-GAEMA (reaction time = 24 h) was chosen as the stationary phase of the chromatographic packing and evaluated with four polar compounds (uracil, cytosine, guanosine, and cytidine). Compared with unmodified silica gel, modified silica gel produces sharper peaks and better separation efficiency. This novel packing material may have a potential for application with highly isomerized sugar mixtures.
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