This month's cover story for Chemical & Engineering News details some of the latest techniques in chromatography. The article traces the development of separations chemistry, which has recently culminated in the creation of one-piece, porous separation media known as monoliths. According to Nobuo Tanaka, a biomolecular engineering professor at the Kyoto Institute of Technology and one of the first researchers to develop monolith columns for use in chromatography:
… one of the main concerns in making monoliths is ensuring that the monolithic material remains in intimate contact with the walls of the surrounding tube. If gaps form between the monolith and the tube's walls, the pressures encountered, for example, in typical high-performance liquid chromatography experiments, will cause the analyte solution to leak past the monolith.
Monoliths may be tricky to make, but C&E reports that the new columns are already making inroads in clinical and basic science circles. The latest applications cover everything from the analysis of tumor biopsy peptides to drug-serum protein interactions.