12th July 2017
5 Everyday uses for Chromatography
Although you might not be familiar with Chromatography, it has an impact on your everyday life.
The process is used to find out what substances are composed of by separating compunds into their various components and its use affects everything from what you eat to how you fight disease.
1. Creating vaccinations
Chromatography is useful in determining which antibodies fight various diseases and viruses. Scientists used Chromatography in the fight against the Ebola virus, responsible for over 11,000 deaths, to develop the experimental immunisation Zmapp. The process was used to find out which antibodies are the most effective at neutralising the deadly virus.
2. Food testing
The 2013 horsemeat scandal, in which horsemeat passed off by vendors as beef came to light, highlighted the ineffectiveness of traditional food analysis methods and positioned chromatography as the frontrunner in determining the contents of processed meat. The traditional methods of analysis were effective at determining the composition of raw samples but inconclusive when analysing processed meats so a more precise method was called for. High performance liquid chromatography, combined with mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) was then successfully used to find out if meat that had been labelled as beef was beef, horse or a mix of these and various other ingredients.
3. Beverage testing
Food isn't the only thing you consume which has been tested using chromatography. Many drinks manufacturers use this technique to ensure each bottle of their product is exactly the same, so you can rely on a consistent taste. One such brand is Jägermeister which uses chromatography to monitor the levels of sugar in their final product.
4. Drug testing
As chromatography can accurately identify substances within the bloodstream, it is widely used in sport to test athletes for doping or performance enhancing drugs, something to think about the next time you're watching your favourite sport.
5. Forensic testing
Chromatography is also used to help catch criminals. In line with programmes like CSI, gas chromatography is used to analyse blood and cloth samples, helping to identify criminals and bring them to justice.
It's clear to see that chromatography is an unsung hero when it comes to keeping you healthy and safe everyday. If you would like to learn more about chromatography, visit our blog.
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