Letter | Published:

A New Method for the Observation of Zones of Colourless Substances on a Chromatographic Column

Nature volume 159, page 708 (24 May 1947) | Download Citation



WHEN chromatographic adsorption analysis is used for colourless substances (or on strongly coloured adsorbents, for example, activated carbon) it is impossible to see the zones of the different solutes adsorbed on the column. Some special arrangement is then needed in order to be able to locate the zones. In principle, two methods are available : (1) no observation is made on the column, but instead the concentration of the solution leaving the column is followed in a small cell ; (2) the positions of the zones on the column are determined by using some special physical or chemical properties of the solutes. The first method, which was introduced by Tiselius1 and improved by Tiselius and me2,3, has also the advantage that the separation between two adjacent zones is greater in the filtrate than on the column. However, in many cases it is of importance to follow the separation directly on the column, and a number of different arrangements have been proposed4. In most of these cases the solutes either are converted into coloured compounds by means of suitable reagents, or indicators are applied before or after the chromatogram is finished, or use is made of fluorescence methods. These methods are, however, limited in use and unsuitable when zones are in direct contact with each other.

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  1. 1.

    , Arkiv. Kern. Min. Geol., 14B, No. 22 (1940).

  2. 2.

    , Arkiv. Kern. Min. Geol., 16A, No. 18 (1943).

  3. 3.

    , Arkiv. Kern. Min. Geol., 23A, No. 1 (1946).

  4. 4.

    See, for example, , and , "Principles and Practice of Chromatography" (London, 1943).

  5. 5.

    , Wied. Ann., 50, 577 (1893).

  6. 6.

    , Verh. Naturf. Ges. Basel, 3, 249 (1861).

  7. 7.

    , , and , Biochem. J., 38, 224 (1944).

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  1. Gates and Crellin Laboratories of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology. Feb. 28.



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