Conclusion and Future Developments

Gas chromatography is a versatile tool in the analysis of natural products with a wide area of application. It is capable of extracting a wide range of diverse compounds from a variety of sample matrices.

Clear advantages of GC are the high sensitivity of the most common detection method, the FID, and the fact that the detector response of similar compounds will be about the same (i.e. peak areas may be directly compared for quantification). By using a nitrogen-specific detector (NPD) sensitivity for alkaloids can be even further improved while at the same time introducing selectivity.

No systematic studies to determine which column is best suited for alkaloid analysis have been reported, but from the methods described to date it is clear that thinly coated apolar columns are preferred for the analysis of underivatized alkaloids. The length of the columns used varies considerably and it is advisable to test the stability of a compound under GC conditions with a short column. A longer column may be used later if the desired chromatographic resolution has not been achieved.

A wealth of information can be obtained by the analysis of alkaloids by GC coupling to MS. Coupled techniques (GC-MS) have demonstrated their analytical potential. The large amounts of data produced by capillary GC, especially when coupled to a mass spectrometer, can now be handled by a personal

Figure 7 Separation of alkaloid extracts from Chamaecytisus proliferus by capillary GC. Injector, 240°C; detector 300°C; oven 150-235°C, 5°C min"1; carrier gas, helium; detection of alkaloids by nitrogen-specific detector (NPD) and mass-selective detector.

computer. The data can be acquired, manipulated and displayed in real time and can be stored for record purposes.

Looking to the future, it is reasonable to expect continued evolutionary development: new selective detectors, more complex analysers for automated sample processing, increasing use of coupled techniques, columns with immobilized phases of a wider range of selectivity, etc. It is hoped that further research and development will encourage the use of GC-MS in the areas of alkaloid analysis that still await investigation.

Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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