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TLC Bioautography on Screening of Bioactive Natural Products: An Update Review

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 5 ]


Yichao Zang, Zhihong Cheng* and Tao Wu*   Pages 545 - 556 ( 12 )


Background: TLC bioautography is a hyphenated technique combining planar chromatographic separation and in situ biological activity detection. This coupled method has been receiving much attention in screening bio-active natural products because of its properties of being simple, rapid, inexpensive, and effective.

Methods: The recent progress in the development of method of TLC bioautography for detecting antimicrobial and enzyme inhibitory activities dating between 2012 and early 2018 has been reviewed. The applications of this method in biological screening of natural products were also presented.

Results: Some anaerobic and microaerophilic bacteria and a causative bacterium of tuberculosis have been adopted to TLC direct bioautography. Seven types of enzymes including acetylcholinesterase, glucosidase, lipase, xanthine oxidase, tyrosinase, monoamine oxidase, and dipeptidyl peptidase IV have so far been adopted on TLC bioautography. Its new application in screening antiurolithiatic agents was included.

Conclusion: The standard experimental procedures are required for TLC antioxidant and antimicrobial assays. Some new enzymes should be attempted and adopted on TLC bioautography. The existing TLC methods for enzyme inhibition need more application studies to assess their screening capacity in the discovery of active compounds. The GC-MS or LC-MS approaches have gradually been coupled to TLC bioautography for fast structural characterization of active compounds.


Antimicrobial agents, antioxidants, bioautography, enzyme inhibition, natural products, TLC.


Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 201203, Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 201203, Key Laboratory of Standardization of Chinese Medicines of Ministry of Education, The Shanghai Key Laboratory for Compound Chinese Medicines, Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203

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