The contamination of water, air, soil and food by agrochemicals, industrial waste and toxic organic solvents, among others, have increased with the chemical industry development, putting at risk the maintenance of different life forms on Earth. In this context, Green Chemistry has been growing. In phytochemical investigations, frequently high amounts of toxic solvents are employed in successive fractionation and analysis steps. Gas Chromatography and Supercritical Chromatography have inherent characteristics of Green technology, but Liquid Chromatography can be applied in a sustainable way by the reduction and/or substitution of toxic and harmful solvents. The latter, applied to the analyses of Brazilian plants with well registered ethnopharmacological uses, is the focus of the present project. It aims at replacing methanol and acetonitrile for the non toxic, biodegradable and largely produced in Brazil ethanol. Despite the high viscosity of ethanol/water mixtures and the limit of about 400 bar of the High Performance Liquid Chromatography machines in our laboratory, the following three strategies will be applied to circumvent the challenges and achieve the optimal use of ethanol in research: employment of silica-based stationary phases by adjusting the flow rate to the system limit pressure; employment of monolithic columns, which will allow higher flow rates without high increases in pressure; and exploration of the temperature variable, since the heating of the mobile phase decreases its viscosity rather than affect the thermodynamics and kinetics of the separation processes.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: