Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is widely adopted for the analysis of alkaloids. The basic characteristics of thin layer chromatography as a method are as follows: qualitative and also semi-quantitative analysis, speed of analysis and a chromatographic fingerprint (Rf values and colours, colour photography, densitometry or fluorometry of the chromatogram at certain wavelengths and a photographic alkaloid atlas). At the mobile phase, the mixture moves across the layer from one side to the opposite. This movement of the solid transfers analyte placed on the layer at the rate determined by its distribution coefficient (K) between the stationary and mobile phases289. The movement of the analyte, therefore, can be expressed by factor Rf, which is the relation between the distance moved by the analyte from its origin to the distance moved by the solvent from its origin (Rf = Ka/Ks). The sample applied to the TLC should contain at least 50-100 ^g of alkaloids. This method was used recently for alkaloid metabolite extraction, analysis and purification308.
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