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Journal of Automated Methods and Management in Chemistry
Volume 22 (2000), Issue 5, Pages 149-157

Drug discovery from Nature: automated high-quality sample preparation

Hans-Knöll-Institute for Natural Products Research, Beutenbergstraße 11, Jena D- 07745, Germany

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Secondary metabolites from plants, animals and microorganisms have been proven to be an outstanding source for new and innovative drugs and show a striking structural diversity that supplements chemically synthesized compounds or libraries in drug discovery programs. Unfortunately, extracts from natural sources are usually complex mixtures of compounds:: often generated in time consuming and for the most part manual processes. As quality and quantity of the provided samples play a pivotal role in the success of high-throughput screening programs this poses serious problems. In order to make samples of natural origin competitive with synthetic compound libraries, we devised a novel, automated sample preparation procedure based on solid-phase extraction (SPE). By making use of a modified Zymark RapidTrace® SPE workstation an easy-to-handle and effective fractionation method has been developed which allows the generation of highquality samples from natural origin, fulfilling the requirements of an integration into high-throughput screening programs.