Capillary electrophoresis and molecular modeling of the chiral separation of aromatic amino acids using α/β-cyclodextrin and 18-crown-6

Fakhr Eldin O. Suliman*, Suad K. Al Burtomani, Abdulla A. Elbashir, Oliver J. Schmitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, chiral separation of enantiomers of three amino acids was achieved using capillary electrophoresis technique with α-cyclodextrin (αCD) as a running buffer additive. Only tryptophan has exhibited baseline separation in the presence of αCD, while the enantiomers of the other two amino acids, phenylalanine and tyrosine, were only partially separated. The addition of 18-crown-6 (18C6) as a second additive imparted only slight improvement to the separation of all enantiomers. On the other hand, all three racemic amino acid mixtures demonstrated no indication of separation when the larger cavity cyclodextrin members, β- and γCD, are used as running buffer chiral additives. However, remarkable improvements in the separation of the enantiomers of phenylalanine and tyrosine were obtained when 18C6 is used together with βCD as a running buffer additive. Surprisingly, tryptophan enantiomers were not separated by the dual additive system of cyclodextrin and crown ether. Using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), all amino acids were found to form stable binary complexes with individual hosts as well as ternary compounds involving the crown ether and the cyclodextrin. Furthermore, we used molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to build a clear picture about the interaction between the guest and the hosts. Most of these complexes remained stable throughout the simulation times, and the molecular dynamics study allowed better understanding of these supramolecular assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1800-1809
Number of pages10
Issue number17-18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • 18-Crown-6
  • Aromatic amino acids
  • Chiral separation
  • Cyclodextrins
  • Molecular dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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