Gas chromatography

Gas chromatography is a similar method to that of HPLC. It provides a quick and easy way of determining alkaloids in a mixture. The only requirement is some degree of stability at the temperature necessary to maintain the substance in the gas state290.

Gas chromatography is divided into two subclasses, according to the nature of the stationary phase. One of this in GSC (gas-solid chromatography). The fixed phase consists of a solid material such as granual silica, alumina or carbon. Gas-solid chromatography is an important method in the separation of permanent gases and low-boiling hydrocarbons290. The second subclass, more important for lupine alkaloid analysis, is gas-liquid chromatography (GLC). A gas chromatograph is needed for the analysis. Basically, a gas chromatograph consists of six parts as follows: (1) a supply of carrier gas in a high-pressure cylinder with attendant pressure regulators and flow meters, (2) a similar injection system, (3) the separation column, (4) detectors, (5) an electrometer and strip-chart recorder (integrator), and (6) separate thermostated compartments for housing the columns and the detector so as to regulate their temperature. Helium is the preferred carrier gas287. For alkaloid analysis, a nitrogen detector is needed.

Gas-liquid chromatography is a qualitative, but also quantitative, method of alkaloid analysis. It is very sensitive. The only problem concerns the distribution of the alkaloid mixture in the chromatographic process and the identification of alkaloids, which must be achieved by a different technique120121. A very positive characteristic is the possibility of totally computerizing this method of alkaloid detection.

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