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Under suitable conditions, acetone can act as a useful solvent for an HPLC mobile phase and like acetonitrile, it is a polar aprotic solvent. Acetone can give comparable retention in many cases, thereby acting as an acetonitrile substitute. Sometimes a change in elution order can even be observed, and therefore acetone can be used a selectivity tool as well. It is less harmful to the environment than acetonitrile in terms of disposal.

Aside from all of these benefits, acetone does have one important drawback that the chromatographer needs to consider: It absorbs strongly in much of the UV spectral range. If you use a detection wavelength of approximately 330 nm or higher, the background noise from the acetone will be manageable. Hence, acetone may be useful for analyses involving compounds that absorb in the high UV or visible range. Alternatively, its absorbance characteristics may not be relevant if you are using a non-UV based detection method. LC-MS has become increasingly popular in recent years and acetone may be a great choice in this case.

Here we present the various ways in which acetone may be used to the benefit of the modern chromatographer. We describe its potential as a substitute, as a selectivity tool, and as a superior solvent in certain aspects.

Please see downloadable pdf below for full study.

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