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Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) is a planar chromatographic technique extensively used as a relatively rapid and straightforward analytical technique for glycan analysis based on their relative hydrophobicity. Creative Biolabs has explored an efficient strategy for the analysis of not only neutral monosaccharide and oligosaccharide, but also for acidic monosaccharides, disaccharides, and oligosaccharides. We are more than happy to share our experience to help our customers in carbohydrate analysis.

TLC for Carbohydrates Analysis

TLC is a method for separating compounds by their rate of movement through a thin layer of silica gel coated on a glass plate. It is one of the easiest and most versatile methods due to its low cost, simplicity, quick development time, high sensitivity, and good reproducibility. TLC is routinely used by synthetic organic molecules and natural products working on a variety of types of molecules. One class of organic natural products that have historically seen less use of TLC is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are highly polar molecules and often require derivatization to be analyzed by TLC. This is primarily because their polar nature makes it difficult to separate these molecules on commonly used polar supports, such as silica and alumina, and also complicates the selection of eluents. Before the advent of modern chromatographic methods, carbohydrates in the past largely relied on paper chromatography for rapid and inexpensive analysis. Nowadays, TLC has been paid more and more attention due to its rapidity, cost-efficient optimization of separation (mobile and stationary phases can be changed easily), the high sample throughput in a short time, and the suitability for carbohydrate analysis.

Gangliosides analysis by TLC. Fig.1 Gangliosides analysis by TLC. (Zhang, 2009)

TLC for Carbohydrates Analysis Service at Creative Biolabs

The in-depth characterization of glycan structures is crucial to understand their structure-function relationships and their effects on health and various diseases. Despite advances in rapid analysis, the utility of mass spectrometry (MS) is limited for complex mixtures of carbohydrates due to their low ionization efficiency and the difficulty in separating oligosaccharides because of their high structural similarity. Base on TLC technology, Creative Biolabs has developed a skillful strategy for simultaneous and rapid separation, detection, and identification of carbohydrates to achieve efficient carbohydrate profiling. Our strategy is not only suitable for the analysis of neutral monosaccharide and oligosaccharide, but also for acidic monosaccharides, disaccharides, and oligosaccharides, which pose an even more difficult challenge as they contain a formal negative charge and counterion, and can interact with commonly used stationary phases.

Samples Available Include but Not Limited To:

  • Plant- or animal-derived carbohydrates
  • Neutral monosaccharide, oligosaccharide and polysaccharide
  • Acidic monosaccharide, oligosaccharide and polysaccharide
  • Glycolipid
  • Ganglioside

Experienced in applying TLC for carbohydrates analysis, Creative Biolabs is fully competent and dedicated to serving as your one-stop-shop for carbohydrates analysis. For more detailed information, please feel free to contact us or directly send us an inquiry.


  1. Zhang, Z.; et al. Thin layer chromatography for the separation and analysis of acidic carbohydrates. Journal of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies®. 2009, 32(11-12):1711-32.
For Research Use Only.

Related Services:

  1. MS
  2. FTIR
  3. GC-MS
  4. NMR
  5. LC-ESI-MS
  6. SPRi
  8. RP-HPLC
  9. Flow Cytometry
  11. Lectin Microarray
  12. HPLC

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