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Ion Pairing 101 for Quality Assurance Training Students


An education in
pharmaceutical quality control and quality assurance grants students the necessary skills and knowledge to review and validate the quality of pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food products. These necessary professionals utilize the latest methods and techniques to analyze the constituents of a wide variety of materials. One of these methods involves ion pairing. 

Ion pairing is useful for separating a mixture into its constituent parts, used within pharmaceutical quality control as well as a variety of different sectors. This chemical technique is just one of the many ways graduates of a Pharmaceutical Quality Control and Quality Assurance program can test materials within laboratories and companies. Read on for an introduction to the method. 

Why Ion Pairing Is Used for Quality Assurance in Pharmaceuticals 

Ion pairing methods are sometimes used within high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Simply put, HPLC is used within analytical chemistry to separate, identify, and quantify the components of a mixture. The mixture is separated by passing it through a medium in which the components move at different rates. 

HPLC is used in many different sectors, including the following:

  • pharmaceutical
  • cosmetic
  • food
  • environmental

    Ion-pairing is used within the pharmaceutical industry

      It is an immeasurably useful and accurate way of identifying the constituents of a mixture. Within the field of quality assurance in pharmaceuticals, HPLC can be used to identify the constituents of a pharmaceutical product and assess their measurements and quality. Ion-Pairing Chromatography (IPC) is a specific method where the pairing of ions helps to separate and identify constituents within a mixture. 

      The Basics of Ion-Pairing 

      Ions are the electrical charge carried by a molecule or an atom. They can be: 

          • A cation, carrying a positive charge
          • An anion, carrying a negative charge

            Ion-pairing pairs ions of opposite electrical charges

      When a cation pairs with an anion, their electrical charges neutralize. But this pairing isn’t the same as bonding. Ion-pairing happens only momentarily as the ions collide with one another, and then they continue their way after their meeting. A certain population of ion pairs exists at any given moment within a mixture, as the formation and dissociation of ion-pairs is a continuous process. It can also be used to one’s advantage, which is why types of HPLC utilize ion-pairing. It’ll be a useful tool during your career following quality assurance training

      How Ion Pairing and HPLC Work Together 

      HPLC is composed of the following components: 

            • A stationary phase that contains the chromatographic packing material 
            • A mobile phase that contains the solvent 
            • A column of glassware that the mixture is placed in 

              Ion-pairing can be used to separate the components of a mixture for analysis

      Ion-Pairing is used in Reversed-Phase Chromatography, where the solvent is polarized via the addition of an ion-pairing reagent, so the solutes within it tend to get bound to the stationary phase. The stationary phase carries either a positive or negative charge, so it attracts molecules carrying the opposite charge. In this way, ions can be paired to separate the constituents of a mixture. 

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