Unlocking Doors with TLC

November 2, 2009

This article reviews some recent applications of thin layer chromatography

It’s been more than a century since Mikhail Semyonovich Tsvet was looking for a way to analyse a mixture of plant pigments and first discovered this fascinating method of separating compounds known as chromatography. Of course, that discovery would most probably have gone unnoticed and underused by science were it not for the work of German organic chemist Richard Martin Willstätter. Besides the fact that Tsvet published his findings in Russian - a language few Western chemists read, chromatography had another disadvantage. Many chemists initially thought the technique of chromatography seemed too simple.

Fortunately, the science community has recognized that one of the strengths of thin layer chromatography (TLC) is its simplicity. Like most simple tools, we see this procedure being applied to a wide variety of disciplines and discoveries — such as analysing forensic evidence, making sure food products are safe, and detecting and treating the H1N1 virus.

Click here for the full article in The Column

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