CrossRef enabled

PAC Archives

Archive →

Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 2, pp. 355-387


Countercurrent chromatography in analytical chemistry (IUPAC Technical Report)

Alain Berthod1, Tatyana Maryutina2, Boris Spivakov2, Oleg Shpigun3 and Ian A. Sutherland4

1 Analytical Sciences Laboratory, University of Lyon, CNRS, Bat. CPE, 69622 Villeurbanne, France
2 Vernadskii Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kosygin str., 19, 119991 Moscow, Russia
3 Lomonosov Moscow State University, GSP-2, Leninskie Gory, 119992 Moscow, Russia
4 Brunel Institute for Bioengineering, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK

Abstract: Countercurrent chromatography (CCC) is a generic term covering all forms of liquid-liquid chromatography that use a support-free liquid stationary phase held in place by a simple centrifugal or complex centrifugal force field. Biphasic liquid systems are used with one liquid phase being the stationary phase and the other being the mobile phase. Although initiated almost 30 years ago, CCC lacked reliable columns. This is changing now, and the newly designed centrifuges appearing on the market make excellent CCC columns. This review focuses on the advantages of a liquid stationary phase and addresses the chromatographic theory of CCC. The main difference with classical liquid chromatography (LC) is the variable volume of the stationary phase. There are mainly two different ways to obtain a liquid stationary phase using centrifugal forces, the hydrostatic way and the hydrodynamic way. These two kinds of CCC columns are described and compared. The reported applications of CCC in analytical chemistry and comparison with other separation and enrichment methods show that the technique can be successfully used in the analysis of plants and other natural products, for the separation of biochemicals and pharmaceuticals, for the separation of alkaloids from medical herbs, in food analysis, etc. On the basis of the studies of the last two decades, recommendations are also given for the application of CCC in trace inorganic analysis and in radioanalytical chemistry.