September 25, 2005

TLC Stains


  • If you use any of the stains listed on this page, I would appreciate it if you could provide an image of the stained TLC plate with a short description of the chemical transformation that was monitored, such as “aliphatic alcohol converted to aldehyde.”
  • This goal of this page is to provide a resource that will include the stain name, recipe, type of molecule detected, and any other information deigned important.

Ammonium Molybdate

5 g Mo7O24·6NH4
100 mL 10% Sulfuric Acid


9.2 mL p-Methoxybenzaldehyde
3.75 mL Acetic Acid
338 mL 95% Ethanol
12.5 mL Concentrated Sulfuric Acid

Cerium Molybdate (Hanessian’s Stain)

5 g CeSO4
25 g (NH4)Mo7O24·4H2O
450 mL Water
50 mL Concentrated Sulfuric Acid

Cerium Sulfate

8 g Ce(SO4)2·2H2SO4
100 mL 15% Sulfuric Acid

Copper Sulfate

3% (w/v) Cupric Sulfate in 15% Phosphoric Acid


12 g 2,4-Dinitrophenylhydrazine
60 mL Concentrated Sulfuric Acid
80 mL Water
200 mL 95% Ethanol

Ehrlich Reagent

1 g p-Dimethylaminobenzaldehyde
75 mL Methanol
50 mL Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid


A few Iodine crystals
Sand or Silica Gel
0.5 g Iodine
100 mL Chloroform


10 mL 5% PtCl2 Solution
5 mL Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid
240 mL 2% Aqueous Iodide Solution

Jones Reagent

Detection of alcohols by oxidation to aldehydes or ketones.

NOTE: Using Chromium; Dispose of Properly – Heavy Metal Waste
20 g Na2CrO7
240 mL Water
160 mL Concentrated Sulfuric Acid


Detection of Primary & Secondary Amines

1.5 g Ninhydrin
5 mL Acetic Acid
500 mL 95% Ethanol

Phosphomolybdic Acid

NOTE: Store in Refrigerator

230 g Phosphomolybdic Acid
1 gallon 95% Ethanol

Potassium Permanganate

Detection of oxidizable moities: alkenes, etc.

3 g Potassium Permanganate
20 g Potassium Carbonate
5 mL 5% Sodium Hydroxide
300 mL Water


NOTE: Store in Dark

60 g Vanillin
1 L 95% Ethanol
10 mL Concentrated Sulfuric Acid

TLC References:

  • J. Touchstone Advances in Thin-Layer Chromatography; Wiley: New York, 1982.
  • J. Touchstone, M. Dobbins Practice of Thin-Layer Chromatography; Wiley: New York, 1978.
  • J. Gasparic, J. Churacek Laboratory Handbook of Paper and Thin-Layer Chromatography; Wiley: New York, 1978.
  • A. Zlatkis, R. E. Kaiser High Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography; Elsevier: Amsterdam, 1977.
  • Thin-Layer Chromatography; A Laboratory Handbook E. Stahl, Ed.; Springer-Verlag: New York, 1965.