The richness of bioactive compounds in plant materials encourages continuous development of separation methods and bioassays for their isolation and identification. Thin-layer chromatography-direct bioautography links separation on the adsorbent layer with biological tests performed directly on it. Therefore, the method is very convenient for searching plant constituents with biological activity, such as antibiotics. Test bacteria grow directly on a plate surface excluding places where antibacterials are located. They can be detected with reagents converted by living bacteria. TLC-DB is a high throughput method enabling analyses of many samples in parallel and the comparison of their activity. Both screening and semi-quantitative analysis is possible. The targeted compounds can be identified using spectroscopic methods, mostly mass spectrometry, that can be performed directly on a TLC plate. This paper discusses all above mentioned aspects of TLC-DB, illustrating them with literature, schemes and our own results.
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