"Linear solvation energy relationships (LSERs) are commonly applied to model the effect of solute structure on the retention of analytes in reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). Standard LSER approaches can be used, in principle, to predict RP-HPLC behaviour of unknown analytes under fixed separation condition. However, as solute structure is the only source of variability described by the model, a LSER established for a given column\/eluent pair cannot be transferred to external separation conditions. In the present investigation, we attempt cross-column prediction by combining in the same model usual LSER molecular descriptors with observed retentions of selected solutes within the calibration set, adopted to represent the stationary phase features. A multi-layer artificial neural network (ANN) is used as regression tool to model the combined effect of solute structure and column on retention. This model is generated and validated using literature retention data of 34 solutes collected on 15 different RP-HPLC columns at a fixed eluent composition (acetonitrile-water 30:70, v\/v). The calibration set is designed by selecting 25 solutes and 11 columns able to represent the variability of the chemical structure of the investigated compounds and dissimilarity of the stationary phases of the data set, respectively. The final predictive performance of the optimised ANN model is tested on the four columns excluded from calibration. Retention of the 25 solutes used to train the network and that of the nine unknown molecules on the external stationary phases is comparably well predicted. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved."
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