Please note:

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.”

The 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 Ammonium heptamolybdate
  • 100 mL 10% Sulfuric acid

para-Anisaldehyde

  • 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 Cerium sulfate
  • 25 g Ammonium heptamolybdate tetrahydrate
  • 450 mL Water
  • 50 mL Concentrated sulfuric acid

Cerium sulfate

  • 8 g Cerium sulfate
  • 100 mL 15% Sulfuric acid

Copper sulfate

  • 3% (w/v) Cupric sulfate in 15% phosphoric acid

2,4-DNP

  • 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

Iodine

  • A few iodine crystals in sand or silica gel OR
  • 0.5 g Iodine
  • 100 mL Chloroform

Iodoplatinate

  • 10 mL 5% Platinum(II) chloride solution
  • 5 mL Concentrated hydrochloric Acid
  • 240 mL 2% aqueous iodide solution

Jones reagent

Detection of alcohols by oxidation to aldehydes or ketones.
  • NOTE: Contains chromium; Dispose of properly – Heavy metal waste
  • 20 g Sodium dichromate
  • 240 mL Water
  • 160 mL Concentrated sulfuric acid

Ninhydrin

Detection of primary and secondary amines
  • 1.5 g Ninhydrin
  • 5 mL Acetic acid
  • 500 mL 95% Ethanol

Phosphomolybdic acid

NOTE: Store in refrigerator
  • 30 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

Vanillin

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.