What Are The Uses Of Thin Layer Chromatography in Biology?

Biologists often come across several compound mixtures, and the first query that strikes their minds are – what components lie in this mixture? Experts in the field do not use chemical assays to find the components in the mixture, and they resort to a simple process called the thin layer chromatography or TLC for the task. This procedure can separate all the components of the mixture with ease, and it also allows scientists to identify the compounds with Rf values and reagents in a short duration of time.

Uses of Thin Layer Chromatography in Biology and other scientific tests

The following are the primary uses of Thin Layer Chromatography in Biology-

  1. Identification of specific compounds existing in a mixture- It becomes simple for biologists to extract compounds from microbial, plant and animal sources with the TLC procedure. These sources are a mixture of many compounds, and the objective of scientists is to find out the compounds of their targeted interest. In case, they have a pure form of the compound they resort to TLC to identify its components and checking whether their Rf values are compatible or not.


  1. Establishing that two compounds derived from different sources are similar- Here scientists look for identical Rf values when they wish to determine that two compounds that come from different sources are similar.


  1. Determining how many compounds are present in the mixture-With the aid of TLC plates, biologists can identify how many compounds are present in a mixture. This can be identified by the number of spots that develop on the TLC plate. They later are then matched to the number of compounds present in the mixture.


  1. Selecting the right solvent for column chromatography to separate the compounds in the mixture- The TLC test can be used for testing the solvent systems for the targeted compound to help biologists choose the solvent for separating the compounds with the help of column chromatography.


  1. Supervising reactions- The rate and the progress of the reaction samples performed by TLC at specific intervals can be easily monitored when biotransformation of these compounds is performed. The biologists can collect reaction mixtures at specific intervals and use the TLC procedure for supervising the change of reactants to the desired products.


  1. Testing the efficacy of column chromatography separations- This is done by getting the samples of the compounds that have been purified for the performance of the TLC procedure. For instance, if a scientist wishes to purify pigments from extracts with column chromatography, different elutions can be analyzed with TLC.

Experts say that when the TLC procedures are conducted in the laboratory, it is prudent to one to always bank on top quality TLC plates for the task. These plates are available in local and online stores. They should be purchased from reliable and trusted brands. Good websites will always give you durable, safe and top-quality products so bank on them always for chemical and biological laboratories with success!

Author Bio: Anthony Karen is a Researcher who has been running many health seminars and public discussions. She also manages her blog and reviews the health-related details provided by authentic sources.

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