Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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HPLC

Cartoon sketch of scientist in labThe high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method is used to isolate toxin from an unknown sample by a separation of a mixture of compounds based on their distinct chemical properties. These compounds chemically interact with both a liquid mobile phase and a stationary phase (a powdered solid material with distinct chemical properties) packed into a column. In order to precisely quantify the amount of toxin present in a sample, the HPLC profile of that sample is compared to the profile of a standard which is obtained by passing pure toxin through the column. The advantage of this method is that HPLC instrumental units are widely available in virtually all laboratories and a single instrument, with minimal modifications, can be used for a variety of toxins. No animals, biological tissues, or radioactive materials, need to be used in this type of analysis.

Detection & Analyses