What does liquid chromatography have in its 2020 fortune cookie?

The new year has just started, I’ve already read many fortunes of my own (I will be getting a new cat and going on a Round the World trip), but how is the year looking for liquid chromatography? Sticking to tradition, I’d like to start the new year with a post dedicated to the future. Read below my preview of what 2020 holds in store for flash and preparative HPLC chromatography.


Chromatography may have been around for decades, but by no means has the technique and its applications stopped evolving. The method will continue to be adapted to meet novel challenging applications in 2020. The rise in environmental awareness will likely exert influence on how chromatography is performed so that “green chemistry” requirements can be satisfied. Let us explore some predictions in more detail.

The role of preparative chromatography in proteomics and metabolomics
Chromatography , particularly HPLC, is increasingly used for protein and peptide separation and analysis. Purification of these constituents can be used for peptide therapeutics. HPLC will also maintain its status as one of the most sensitive techniques in genomics for determination of DNA methylation. Other applications for HPLC, including glycomics for glycan analysis and lipidomics for lipid separation, will continue to rise in popularity. All types of biological compounds, including small molecules, can also be purified with HPLC.

Use of liquid chromatography for cannabis testing applications
Liquid chromatography has already been used to help characterize the pharmacological mechanisms of action of more than a hundred cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant. As marijuana laws worldwide relax, liquid chromatography has been used to help enforce regulations and quality control, profile cannabinoids and screen for agrochemicals, toxins, contaminants and pesticides.

Use of preparative HPLC for novel applications
Preparative chromatography will continue to be adapted for new applications, such as food safety testing. For example, the method can be used for testing of food contaminants. Continued combination of methods, such as GC/LCMS and LC/HPLC-NMR and other multidimensional hyphenated systems will enable highly advanced research and more quality applications.

Performing greener chromatography
The amount of organic waste produced while performing preparative HPLC will continue to grow as use of the technique increases. New methods and materials to make chromatography “greener” are therefore necessary to find to reduce the environmental footprint of the process. To start the year, researchers have shown ways how to use pure water as the sole component of the mobile phase , hence replacing harmful organic solvents, such as acetonitrile, methanol or isopropanol.

This is just a little preview of how I think use of liquid chromatography will evolve in the first year of the new decade. Meanwhile, I plan to continue providing you with new posts and information on how flash chromatography and prep HPLC can be performed to your maximal benefit. So here is a toast to a colourful 2020, many beautiful chromatograms and fractionated substances of highest purity.

Till next time,

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