In a far reaching development, the US and Europe decided in the last few weeks to use "HPTLC fingerprint" as an identification test for "materials of botanical origin". US Pharmacopeia has also published a SOP to perform HPTLC which has ended con the chemical composition of complex mixtures such as herbal extracts and formulations. Fingerprint method is simple, low cost, meets GLP requirements and produces irrefutable evidence about identity of botanicals. India has been following the fingerprint concept since long but without a proper SOP and a built-in system suitability test. High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography is the most/ widely used chromatography method for herbal analysis. It is simple, visible with low costs which are ideal traits for a "screening" technique. HPTLC generates for more information per "Chromatogram" than other methods. The information can be about UV absorbance, fluorescence, visible colours, images in short and long wave UV as well as visible light. Further information can be gleaned by using some of the 1100 known in-situ derivatization reagents. HPTLC has now been hyphenated to MS, NMR, IR, HPTLC plates are widely used for bio-autography studies and effect directed analysis. HPTLC will be very common place soon in the herbal and foods industry because of its "fingerprint" feature which has become mandatory.
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