Visual evaluation and flexible use
HPTLC is the method of choice for the analysis of substances in complex matrices (like plant materials, lipid samples, and samples with a high sugar content). The HPTLC fingerprint of, e.g. herbal drug samples visually either confirms or rejects the plant identity. HPTLC is a highly flexible analytical technique and allows to adapt the analytical method to the individual need in each process step.
Reproducible analysis and reliable quantification
In addition to identity, an HPTLC fingerprint can also give some semi-quantitative information (intensity of bands) about a sample. Quantitative evaluation of analytes can be achieved based on hyperspectral data, densitograms or image profiles. HPTLC is in our days an analytical technique involving sophisticated instrumentation, standardized and documented procedures, as well as validated methods. This allows the user to achieve reproducible results in a cGxP environment.
Multiple detection of separated analytes
A further strength of HPTLC is the possibility to use multiple detection methods on the same sample and plate, UV/VIS/fluorescence/hyperspectral/derivatization or effect-directed. In contrast to other chromatographic techniques, the separated analytes of the sample remain on the plate.
Analysis of multiple samples in parallel without cross-contamination
HPTLC allows for parallel instead of sequential analysis with little to no sample preparation. At least 15 samples can be developed under identical conditions and analyzed at the same time. HPTLC is highly efficient because of several reasons: short run time per sample (e.g. a total analysis time of 30 min for 15 samples means a run time of 2 min/sample), low solvent consumption per sample and no cross-contamination due to single use of the plate.
Coupling possibility to Mass Spectrometry
HPTLC-MS is a strong additional detection possibility and allows the structural confirmation of targeted analytes. It also allows to do structure elucidation by coupling HPTLC to high-resolution MS.