We report on a potential method to separate sugars by using the specific interaction between fullerenes and saccharides in liquid chromatography (LC). Aromatic rings with high electron density are believed to interact strongly with saccharides due to CH–π and/or OH–π interactions. In this study, the fullerene-bonded columns were used to separate saccharides by LC under aqueous conditions. As a result, 2-aminobenzamide-labeled glucose homopolymer (Glcs) was effectively separated by both C60 and C70 columns in the range of Glc-1 to Glc-20 and high blood glucose level being retained in greater quantity. Furthermore, similar separations were identified by LC–mass spectrometry with non-labeled glucose homopolymers. Theoretical study based on molecular dynamics and DFT calculation demonstrated that a supramolecular complex of saccharide–fullerene was formed through CH–π and/or OH–π interactions, and that the interactions between saccharide and fullerene increase with the increase units of the saccharide. Additionally, the C60 column retained disaccharides containing maltose, trehalose, and sucrose. In this case, it was assumed that the retention rates were determined by the difference of the dipole moment in each saccharide. These results suggest that the dipole-induced dipole interaction was dominant, and that maltose—with the higher dipole moment—was more strongly retained compared to other disaccharides having lower dipole moment.
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