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J Chromatogr. 1991 Jan 18;538(1):133-40.

Separation of rare earth elements by high-speed counter-current chromatography.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biophysical Chemistry, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Besides being widely used in electronic and glass industries, rare earth elements have recently been found to have important biological effects including the ability to stabilize and enhance interferon activity [J.J. Sedmak and S.E. Grossberg, J. Gen. Virol, 52 (1981) 195]. In this paper, the rare earth elements have been separated using a high-speed counter-current chromatography (HSCCC) centrifuge equipped with three multilayer coils connected in series. Two-phase solvent systems were composed of n-heptane containing di-(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid (stationary phase) and dilute hydrochloric acid (mobile phase) where the partition coefficient of each can be optimized by selecting the proper hydrochloric acid concentration. The mobile phase was eluted through the column at a flow-rate of 5 ml/min, while the apparatus was rotated at 900 rpm. Continuous detection of the rare earth elements was effected by means of a post-column reaction with arsenazo III and the elution curve was obtained by on-line monitoring at 650 nm. Excellent isocratic separations of closely related rare earth elements were achieved at high partition efficiencies up to several thousand theoretical plates. Versatility of the present method was demonstrated in an exponential gradient elution of hydrochloric acid concentration where fourteen rare earth elements were all resolved in about 4.5 h.

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