Applications of Chromatography

What is the significance of Chromatography?

Chromatography has several significant applications in many pharmaceutical sectors and also in the food and chemical industries. 

In order to confirm that samples contain only very limited amounts of pollutants (such as the PCBs in waste oil and pesticides in soil), environmental testing laboratories are known to make extensive use of the technique of chromatography.

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The chromatography process which was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency can be used to analyze drinking water and also to monitor air quality. This approach is used by several pharmaceutical manufacturers in order to prepare large amounts of products having very high purity and also to test the extracted compounds for traces of contaminants. Other notable applications of the technique of chromatography have been provided in this article.

Applications of Chromatography in the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • The technique of chromatography is extensively employed in the pharmaceutical industry in order to analyze and identify the presence of any trace amounts of chemicals and elements in a given sample.
  • Another vital application of chromatography in this sector is in the separation of certain chemical compounds based on their molecular masses (and sometimes on the basis of the elements that constitute them).
  • The technique of chromatography also plays a crucial role in the development of new drugs. For example, the presence of impurities and other unknown compounds can be detected in the drug sample with the help of chromatography. Furthermore, the purity of the drug sample can also be analyzed with the help of this technique .

Applications of Chromatography in the Food Industry

  • In the food industry, the technique of chromatography plays a vital role in the determination of the shelf life of food substances by helping in the analysis of the point at which food spoils.
  • Furthermore, the presence of chemical additives in food can also be determined with the help of this technique.
  • The nutritional value of the food sample can also be determined by employing chromatographic techniques.

Applications of Chromatography in the Chemical Industry

  • Chromatography plays a vital role in the chemical industry for the testing of water samples for purity.
  • The testing of air samples for their purity is also accomplished by chromatographic techniques in the chemical industry.
  • The presence of toxic contaminants in oils and pesticides (the most notable of which being polychlorinated biphenyls, often abbreviated to PCBs) can be determined with the help of specialized chromatographic techniques such as GC and HPLC.
  • It can also be noted that chromatography also has many applications in the life sciences.

Applications of Chromatography in the Field of Molecular Biology

  • In the field of molecular biology, the study of proteomics and metabolomics often involve the use of various hyphenated chromatographic techniques (the most notable of which being EC-LC-MS).
  • Nucleic acid research is also known to make extensive use of such chromatographic techniques.
  • A specific type of chromatography known as HPLC is widely used in protein separation applications. This type of chromatography is also useful in enzyme purification, plasma fractionation, and insulin purification.


Several different types of chromatography are commonly used in the chemical industry. Environmental research laboratories make extensive use of chromatographic techniques while searching for trace amounts of toxins in waste oil, such as PCBs. Such techniques are also employed while searching for pesticides such as DDT in groundwater. The technique of chromatography is also used by the Environmental Protection Agency in order to check drinking water for its quality and also to monitor the quality of air. Pharmaceutical companies are known to use chromatography to both process vast amounts of highly pure products, and also to test the extracted substances for trace contaminants.

Apart from these applications, it can also be noted that chromatography is also widely used in the fuel industry, the field of biotechnology, and also in certain biochemical processes.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is the chromatography technique?

Chromatography is a technique for separating a mixture in the laboratory. The mixture is dissolved in the mobile phase, which is a fluid (gas or solvent) that transports it through a system.


What is chromatography explain with an example.

When a chemical reaction is utilized to cause each of the different size molecules in a liquid compound to separate into their own sections on a piece of paper, this is an example of chromatography.


What are the industrial applications of chromatography?

Chromatography is used in the food business to separate and analyze additives, vitamins, preservatives, proteins, and amino acids for quality control. Aflatoxin, a cancer-causing chemical formed by a mould on peanuts, may also be separated and detected.


Who uses paper chromatography?

Most pharmaceutical companies utilize this technology to examine the various components in medications. It’s used to check for contaminants in water and to test antibiotics. Paper chromatography has been used as a purification and separation procedure for mixture components.


Where is chromatography used?

Chromatography is also used to aid in the detection of criminals. Gas chromatography is used to analyze blood and fabric samples, similar to what is seen on shows like CSI, to assist identify perpetrators and bring them to justice. It’s evident that chromatography is an unsung hero in keeping you healthy and safe on a daily basis.

To learn more about the applications of chromatography and other related concepts such as the different types of chromatography, download BYJU’S – The Learning App!

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