Chirality in chemistry was first identified by the French physicist Biot in the early 1800s and in 1848, Louis Pasteur reported the first chiral separation of racemic sodium ammonium tartrate to obtain enantiomers of the racemic molecule. Van’t Hoff, the Dutch physical chemist, was the first to propose that the molecular basis of chirality was an asymmetric carbon center.
Enantiomers are mirror images of one another that are non-superimposable. Enantiomers, or optical isomers, rotate plane polarized light in different directions, whereas racemic mixtures are optically inactive.
Due to disastrous side-effects of some racemic drugs (most notably thalidomide) the FDA issued guidelines for development of new racemic drugs, requiring companies to evaluate and report pharmacology and toxicity profiles of a racemate and its enantiomers prior to beginning clinical trials. Clearly, the availability of appropriate analytical methods for determining/monitoring enantiomeric composition is critical to ascertain toxicity and biological activity of pure enantiomers or their mixtures.
In recent years, the use of chiral chromatography has become well accepted as an effective, rapid and direct method to obtain pure enantiomers. Chiral stationary phases (CSPs) must contain chiral selectors that provide enantiorecognition for chiral molecules. To be effective, a CSP must have different affinity for each of the two enantiomers in a racemic mixture.
There are a number of CSPs that are commercially available, but the most popular and effective are based on polysaccharides such as amylose and cellulose. These types of CSPs have been proven to be the most general and easy to use options for chiral chromatography.
Polysaccharide-derived chiral selectors were invented by Professor Yoshio Okamoto of Nagoya University in Japan, while he was conducting research in the field of synthetic optically active polymers. Daicel Corporation commercialized Professor Okamoto’s inventions, which are the foundation of the highly successful and widely used Daicel chiral stationary phases (CSPs) – Chiral Technologies’ core technology.
Our chiral chromatography products range from analytical columns, to preparative columns, to bulk CSP for commercial-scale separations, with particle sizes of the CSPs varying depending on the application.
More information on the application of these products can be found within this website.