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A simple thin-layer chromatographic method suitable for monitoring microbiological fermentation processes is reported. In addition to compounds related to the target compound the method enables acquisition of data on the formation and degradation of a series of carbohydrates from starch to monosaccharides. The target compounds and the carbohydrates can both be analyzed by use of a single method using one layer only. Both sets of data are useful for optimization of different biosyntheses or bioconversions. The method involves one, effective, thin-layer chromatographic separation, subsequent charring with sulfuric acid solution as detection reagent, heating, and evaluation by scanning the colored spots.

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JPC - Journal of Planar Chromatography - Modern TLC
Authors: Balázs Erdélyi, Antal Szabó, László Birincsik, Gábor Seres, János Salát, József Ivanics, and Attila Kónya

TLC methods have been developed for monitoring microbial enantioselective reduction and regioselective oxidation. The work discussed in this paper focused on preparation of aromatic chiral alcohols by bioreduction of their respective acetone derivatives by biocatalysis using yeast strains in medium containing added resin. A simple method and suitable device were developed for sampling from such heterogeneous fermentation media. Methods and chromatograms are presented for quantitation by TLC and for enantiomer ratio determination by HPLC. With regard to oxidation procedures, a TLC method was established for monitoring compactin hydroxylation during fermentation processes — as a representative example. Improvement of the method and use of HPTLC plates resulted in high resolution and separation capacity equal to that of the HPLC method. By means of the method by-products usually formed as minor components in the biotransformation could also be detected. Repeated clogging of the HPLC column as a result of impurities usually present in considerable amounts in fermentation samples is another reason for using TLC for analysis of microbial media.

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