Alumina oxide is the sorbent of choice for the separation of basic compounds which includes alkaloids, amines, steroids, terpenes, aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons. While more than 100 alkaloids are currently being used medically there are more than 420,000 distinct plant species and less than 10% of them have been fully characterized. The process of purification follows the following sequence:

  1. Extraction of the raw material from the plant species
  2. Separation of the total alkaloids from the other extracted substances
  3. Separation of the alkaloids
  4. Purification of each of the individual alkaloids

For example the plant species Catharanthus Roseus contains more than 90 unique alkaloid substances. Only the highest resolution separation will allow these unique compounds to be isolated and purified. The decision on which activated alumina to use will be based on the characteristics of the plant alkaloids, such as the compound polarity, solubility, molecular size and shape.

Activated Alumina for the Purification of Natural Plant Alkaloids