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Evaporation to Dryness Ahead of Thin Layer Chromatography

November 09, 2023 /

Case Studies, Environmental

/ David Oliva

TLC, or Thin Layer Chromatography, is growing in popularity due to its ability to discover the purity of various compounds within a mixture.

A thin layer of alumina or silica gel is applied to a plate prior to the sample being inserted. Solvent is applied in the mobile phase which results in separation of the components present on the plate. Spots develop on the plate after exposure, commonly triggered by reagents or UV light. An Rf value is established which represents the distance between the spots which can assist in sample identification. The speed and relative low cost of TLC has led to spreading adoption.

Thin Layer ChromatographyPhoto credit to https://byjus.com/chemistry/thin-layer-chromatography/

Organomation learned more about this approach after visiting Alkemist Labs, a one-of-a-kind, natural product testing laboratory in Garden Grove, California. The lab is charged with confirming the identity, potency and purity of products such as dietary supplements and herbal medicines. Alkemist employs one of the main applications of thin layer chromatography: running a concentration of a known standard and a sample for comparison to verify that they are indeed one in the same.

Following extraction, Organomation’s MULTIVAP nitrogen evaporator plays a pivotal role in concentrating test samples ahead of TLC. Since the samples are aqueous, the dry block version of this batch evaporator is utilized which dramatically speeds the concentration process through the application of high temperatures. This sample concentrator can hold up to 48 samples at a time with Alkemist preferring to utilize 16 x 125 mm culture tubes. Once the samples are evaporated to dryness, they are reconstituted with solvent.

Alkemist receives samples from all of the world and is tasked with verifying that the promised, active ingredients are truly contained in the product. A common misconception is that products such as dietary supplements exist in an unregulated space which could not be further from the truth. The FDA requires a Certificate of Analysis which is one of the main deliverables these product testing labs are employed to produce. Not only are these labs hired by product manufacturers, they are also contracted by retailers completing their own diligence regarding the products they are reselling.

Alkemist trusts Organomation's solvent concentrators to reliably prepare test samples for various companies and manufacturers. The MULTIVAP batch evaporator helps ensure precise and accurate results in order to meet the FDA's requirements. Get a closer look at how the MULTIVAP evaporator operates and the features available with the video below.

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