Origins & evolution of chromatography

The term “chromatography” originated in 1906 thanks to Russian botanist Mikhail Tswett. In 1901, he washed an organic solution of plant pigments through a vertical glass column packed with an adsorptive metal. He discovered that the pigments separated into a series of colored bands on the column, divided by regions entirely free of color.
In 1930, chemists Richard Kuhn and Edgar Lederer used this technique to separate different biologically materials. Since that time, the technique has advanced rapidly and column chromatography is now used widely in many different forms. The column itself has also been refined over the years, according to the type of chromatography, but fulfils the same essential separating function in all forms of column chromatography.
In 1964, the American chemist J. Calvin Giddings refined liquid chromatography to achieve separations of different molecules. This was the origin of the technique now known as High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and relied on very small particles size in small diameter columns.
From the mid 80’s a number of scientists’ as Verzele & Dewaele, Bildlingmeyer, Unger, … published articles dedicated to Preparative Liquid Chromatography on the technique itself, the columns and instruments technology.


Preparative liquid chromatography

Preparative liquid chromatography


Analytical liquid chromatography

Analytical liquid chromatography

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Liquid Chromatography principle

Liquid Chromatography is a separation technique.
It can be dedicated to identify and quantify compounds present in a mixture, this is the analytical mode. Very attractive when the goal is to get isolated a pure product from a more or less complex mixture, this technique is then called preparative liquid chromatography and seems to be today the most popular way for purification.
Liquid chromatography manages compromise between multiple parameters and primarily stationary phase, eluents and compounds of interest.
Compounds are eluted by a liquid mobile phase (eluent) in contact with a stationary phase (fixed). The migration speed of the species contained in the sample depends on the interactions with the stationary phase (adsorption or desorption phenomenon), the mobile phase or their solubility and polarity.


Exemple: 4 groups of products in different quantities

Principe of chromatographie > part 1 Objective : separate the components of a mixture containing different molecules in order to qualify (identify, quantify) and/or purify them.
Principe of chromatographie > part 2 In the mixture or the raw simple, each group of molecules will have a particular behaviour while going through the column. This behaviour is related to their own reaction with the eluent & the stationary phase.

Principe of chromatographie > part 3 - 4 -5

What we see on arrival => Principe of chromatographie > part 6


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