Ion Chromatography Sheds Light on Glyphosate Analysis: A Review

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Ion chromatography is a technique best suited for analyzing herbicides, such as glyphosate, because it can detect its metabolites with high sensitivity, selectivity, and accuracy.

Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide and is the most commercially successful compound in this category. However, the herbicide's possible cancerogenic properties are under scrutiny. It is essential to examine glyphosate’s properties and assess their efficacy. Because of its broad application, glyphosate ends up in the environment, food, and our bodies. Several methods are used to identify glyphosate, and one of them is ion chromatography.

In a review article published in the Journal of Separation Science, Rajmund Michalski and Paulina Pecyna-Utylska, researchers at the Institute of Environmental Engineering at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze, Poland, summarize the literature data of the past 22 years (1). They describe the use of ion chromatography in determining glyphosate in different types of environmental, food, and other samples. Furthermore, they compare the methods used to date with the opportunities presented by ion chromatography, which has the benefit of easy availability, low operating costs, green chemistry aspects, and suitable validation parameters.

Ion chromatography is a powerful analytical technique that separates charged molecules based on their interaction with an ion exchange resin. The method employs an eluent, which is a solution of a weak acid or base, to selectively elute ions from the resin based on their charge and affinity for the resin. The separated ions are then detected by a conductivity detector, UV detector, or mass spectrometer.


Ion chromatography is an excellent choice for glyphosate analysis because it can simultaneously detect glyphosate and its metabolites with high sensitivity, selectivity, and accuracy. It also has several advantages over other techniques, such as its simplicity, low solvent consumption, and minimal sample preparation requirements. Moreover, it is an environmentally friendly method because it does not require the use of hazardous organic solvents.

In conclusion, the use of ion chromatography in glyphosate analysis has demonstrated several benefits over other techniques, making it a highly useful analytical tool. It provides highly sensitive and selective detection of glyphosate and its metabolites, making it an essential method in environmental and food analysis. The widespread availability and low operating costs of ion chromatography make it an attractive analytical technique for research and routine analysis in the future.


(1) Michalski, R.; Pecyna-Utylska, P. Ion chromatography for analysis of glyphosate and its selected metabolites. A review. J. Sep. Sci. 2023, ASAP. DOI: 10.1002/jssc.202300038