Sometimes we find ourselves having to make decisions fast, and act even faster - especially in situations like the one we live in today, where there is a high degree of uncertainty. In this kind of situation it is ideal to find a partner that is willing to share the risk with us, so that the long-term consequences of a decision made in times of uncertainty are not going to make us regret our choice when things get back to normal.
This is an interesting question that I am asked from time to time. There does seem to be two camps in which chemists reside – one believing longer and thinner columns provide better separations and the other preferring shorter and fatter columns to do the same chromatography.
Which is right? That is a question I will try to answer based on my own data.
A question I hear a lot from chemists is “how much can I load”. The answer is always “it depends on your separation quality”. At that point I begin asking about the TLC data and purification goals. Purification goal setting should be your first step and the question to answer is – what do I need this purification to achieve? Is the goal high purity, high yield, or some combination. Remember, you will typically sacrifice purity for high yield and yield for high purity so optimization is an important consideration.
Over the past several decades, the chemical industry has implemented process changes and updated practices in R&D and manufacturing in an effort to reduce liquid and solid lab waste. The pharmaceutical industry in particular has taken steps within their drug discovery labs to reduce solvent use by requiring their chemists to find and implement measures that achieve the corporate environmental goals without curtailing their productivity – quite the challenge.
Flash chromatography – a purification tool for both organic chemists and natural product researchers. This tool is essential when you need to remove impurities from your targeted product, or products, in order to get them pure. To reduce the costs associated with flash chromatography, some chemists try reusing the same column over and over, not always with success.
This, of course, is always one of the first questions an organic, medicinal, or peptide chemist has when starting the research process for a flash chromatography system. Here at Biotage, we receive this question hundreds and hundreds of times a year, likely within the first couple of minutes of any conversation.
Up to six compounds can be easily separated with an automated step-gradient optimizer embedded in modern flash chromatography systems.
The newly released Biotage® Selekt flash chromatography instrument can be run at a maximum flow-rate of 300 mL/min or a maximum pressure of 30 bar. These high flowrates and pressures enable a user to perform chromatography using not only dry-packed, single-use plastic flash columns containing small (≥20 μm) spherical silica particles, but also semi-preparative, slurry-packed
HPLC columns for multiple use with smaller (≤20 μm) spherical silica particles.
When Isolera™ was launched, the maximum system pressure that could be reached was 10 bars, but reaching that pressure was a challenge since most of the Flash columns could not withstand the higher pressures. The maximum pressure rating for the Biotage® SNAP columns, for example, is limited to five or seven bars, depending on the size, and columns from most of manufacturers have the same limitation.
On a scenic drive up the I-15 in southern California, I got to take a tour of the undergraduate lab at California State University, San Marcos with Dr. Robert Iafe. His lab is one of the first to have the new Biotage® Selekt Flash Purification System paired with the Sfär columns. We discussed the impact on his undergraduates broadening capabilities to learn about new instruments, and how it has affected his own research in his goals to gain tenure at the university.
In this post I will delve into six key factors that impact your purification success in flash column chromatography.
Previously, I have discussed the use of TLC for solvent scouting and method development and optimization. I have have also talked about cartridge size, particle size, and surface area and their impact on flash purification. Here I integrate that information into the six factors below.
This question is one that is increasing in frequency. Over the past 10 or so years reversed-phase flash chromatography use has increased dramatically. Likewise, reversed-phase preparative HPLC (RP pHPLC) use has also increased. Chemists need to know when to choose between the speed and low solvent use of flash column chromatography and the ultimate purification of RP pHPLC. With this as the backdrop, let me give you my thoughts on how to choose between flash chromatography and when it is best to use RP pHPLC.
Acetone, as you know, is a terrific solvent. It dissolves many organic molecules, evaporates easily, is both water and organic soluble, and is cheap (relatively). These attributes tell me it should be a good polar modifier for normal-phase flash chromatography.
TLC is the tool most used for normal-phase flash chromatography method development. For many chemists, a solvent system of hexane (or heptane) + ethyl acetate is the first, and sometimes only, solvent system evaluated. Though often useful, ethyl acetate may not always provide the optimal purification conditions.
The answer to this question is yes, reversed-phase can sometimes provide a better separation and thus better purification than normal-phase. When is reversed-phase likely to be the better choice is a different, and likely better, question.
In this post I will try to demonstrate when reversed-phase is likely the better purification mode.
This is a question being asked of my colleagues and me more and more frequently, especially in pharma accounts. Why? Well, you are familiar with the adage – Time is Money, right. Well this really applies to them. A new molecular entity (NME) created as a pharmaceutical can take up to a decade and a billion dollars to bring to market. Granted, the biggest costs are in the clinical trials but the synthetic route and the time to discover and make the compound – and purify it – plays a major role within drug discovery and development. This timeline is not helped by the ever increasingly difficult-to-synthesize compounds being investigated as drug candidates today.
With that in mind, this post focuses on ways to speed the purification process without sacrificing purity and yield.