Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
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Comparative evaluation of selected starches as adsorbent for Thin-layer Chromatography

TA Abere,  HA Okeri and LO Okafor

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, PMB 1154, Benin City, Nigeria


Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 2005; 4(1): 331-339

ISSN: 1596-5996



Purpose: A variety of tested organic and inorganic adsorbents are available today specifically for thin-layer chromatography. The most commonly used is silica gel which is an inorganic adsorbent. Organic substances like cellulose, polyethylene are also used. All these are imported into Nigeria and are unhealthy for economic policies. Most commonly used adsorbent may not be easy to produce locally, but starch, which is a very common product, can be made very readily available.

Method: Comparative tests were carried out on cassava, guinea corn and irish potato starches to evaluate and determine suitability as adsorbents for thin-layer chromatography. The starches were used in their natural forms and various modified forms:- formamide, paraffin-impregnated forms and derivatized forms so as to exhibit different properties using different solvent systems to separate different classes of compounds namely alkaloids, amine acids, lipids and steroids with silica gel as standard.

Results: The results obtained have proved starch to be a suitable adsorbent both in its naturally occurring and modified forms. Good separations of amino acids and steroids were obtained on natural layers when compared with silica gel, while alkaloids on formamide-impregnated layers and lipids on paraffin-impregnated layers also gave encouraging results. The acetylated starch by suitable modification should produce good results.

Conclusion: The suitability of natural starches and its modifications as adsorbents for TLC has thus been established and seems very promising for future use.

Key words: Starch, cassava, guinea corn, Irish potato, adsorbent, thin-layer chromatography.

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