Chromatography Columns

Chromatography is a very important and commonly used analytical method in the laboratory. Because chromatography can continuously concentrate, separate, purify, and determine the samples, it has become a common means of analysis and detection and has been widely used in various industries. Chromatography columns play a central role in the performance of the chromatographic process.

A chromatography column is a cylindrical glass or metal tube used to separate mixtures in analytical chemistry and biochemistry. The column contains a stationary phase, which can be a solid adsorbent, a liquid solvent immobilized by inert particles, or a gel. The mixture to be separated is dissolved in the mobile phase solvent and flows through the column. The column has adapters at the top and bottom for connecting tubing and collecting fractions. Typical housing materials for chromatographic columns include glass, steel, and plastic. Glass and steel housings are robust and hold the stationary phase, while plastic housings are transparent and allow observation of the separation process.

The various components of the mixture interact differently with the stationary phase, and they separate from each other as they pass through the column at different rates. Components with stronger interactions are retained longer in the column and elute later. Those with weaker interactions pass through the column faster and elute earlier.

There are several types of chromatography columns with different principles of operation and different stationary phases used. The choice of column depends on the nature of the compounds to be separated and the specific goal of the separation. Polarity, charge, size, and biological function are considered when selecting the best type of column. Adsorption chromatography columns contain a solid stationary phase that separates different components of a mixed sample based on polarity. The more polar the compound, the greater the adsorption. Common adsorbents are silica and alumina. Fractionation columns contain a liquid stationary phase coated on an inert solid support to separate the sample by hydrophobicity. Fractionation columns are commonly used to separate organic compounds, which are distributed between the stationary and mobile phases according to their solubility. Ion exchange columns contain a stationary phase with charged functional groups, which can be used for protein purification and water treatment. Cation exchange columns are negatively charged while anion exchange columns are positively charged. They separate compounds based on their ionic charge and attraction to oppositely charged columns. Size exclusion columns contain a porous stationary phase. Compounds are separated based on their molecular size as they pass through the pores. Larger molecules cannot enter the pores and elute first, while smaller molecules can enter the pores and elute subsequently. Affinity columns are commonly used for the purification of biomolecules. The ligands in the stationary phase of an affinity column have a specific binding affinity for the target compound. Thus, the target compounds are retained on the affinity column, while impurities are washed away.

Chromatographic columns enable high-resolution, predictable separations in many applications such as drug purification, protein separation, and analysis of contaminants in food and water. Complex mixtures can be separated by chromatographic columns into pure components for further study. Available in a wide range of types and configurations, chromatography columns are versatile tools for the analytical laboratory. Amerigo Scientific provides highly sensitive, rugged, and easy-to-use chromatography columns for efficient separation of complex mixtures. Explore our extensive line of chromatography columns, available in a wide range of pressure ratings and sizes, and compatible with common chromatography systems and bioproduction equipment.

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