An interesting two-phase solvent system and its use in preparative isolation of aconitines from aconite roots by counter-current chromatography


Correspondence: Professor Quan-Bin Han, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Town, Hong Kong SAR, China

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Additional Correspondence: Professor Zhi-Hong Jiang, E-mail:


Two-phase solvent system plays crucial role in successful separation of organic compounds using counter-current chromatography (CCC). An interesting two-phase solvent system, composed of chloroform/ethyl acetate/methanol/water, is reported here, in which both phases contain sufficient organic solvents to balance their dissolving capacities. Adjusting the solvent system to get satisfactory partition coefficients (K values) for target compounds becomes relatively simple. This solvent system succeeded in sample preparation of aconitine (8.07 mg, 93.69%), hypaconitine (7.74 mg, 93.17%), mesaconitine (1.95 mg, 94.52%) from raw aconite roots (102.24 mg, crude extract), benzoylmesaconine (34.79 mg, 98.67%) from processed aconite roots (400.01 mg, crude extract), and yunaconitine (253.59 mg, 98.65%) from a crude extract of Aconitum forrestii (326.69 mg, crude extract).