Planar Chromatography Versus Column Chromatography: A Performance Comparison
It is hypothesized that in particular cases, conventional planar chromatography provides a more effective and robust system than column chromatography with regard to separation efficiency and peak distribution of mixtures composed of low-retarded analytes. Under similar reversed-phase experimental conditions, a regular distribution of thin-layer chromatography (TLC) spots of four natural estrogens (estetrol, estriol, 17?-estradiol, and estrone) corresponds to strong irregular dispersion of peaks in chromatograms generated by high performance liquid chromatography. In both cases, the efficiency of separation was assessed using simple optimization criteria such as selectivity (?min) and resolution (Rs min). The distribution of chromatographic spots was evaluated using the relative resolution product (r). The results revealed that an excellent separation of the components of interest could be achieved easily using simple nonforced and isocratic TLC. Such an interesting property of planar chromatography is mainly driven by the nonlinear relationship between k and Rf retention factors. This article also reports the practical advantages of TLC for the separation of estrogenic steroid mixtures at different temperatures.