Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Ion-Exchange Chromatography

  • Mark Dörr
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_805-2




Ion-exchange chromatography (IEC) is a laboratory separation process for the separation of ions and polar molecules based on their charge. It can be used for a multitude of charged molecules, including large molecules, such as proteins and oligonucleotides, and small molecules, such as amino acids. The stationary phase commonly consists of a resin or gel with a covalently linked charged molecule. Depending on the charge, IEC can be either anion- or cation-exchange chromatography. It is often used for protein purification, DNA/RNA oligomer analysis, and water analysis.


Ion-exchange chromatography is one of the oldest separation processes described in literature. In 1850, H. Thompson and J. T. Way treated various clays (= stationary phase) with ammonium sulfate or carbonate in solution to release calcium. During World War II, ion-exchange chromatography was further developed and played a crucial role in the “Manhattan project” to enrich radioactive...


Radioactive Element Stationary Phase Small Molecule Bioorganic Chemistry Affinity Chromatography 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark