Natural products are in high demand these days due to rising awareness among consumers. Healthy diets, especially those in emerging markets, growth in populations with nutritional deficiencies, and supporting government regulations provide high growth opportunities for these compounds. However, extraction of high-valued compounds from natural sources is not an easy task. Natural products are complex matrices, with relevant compounds present in small amounts and often mixed with other compounds of similar structures. Most of the applications are related to the pharmaceutical sector, but interest in food and natural products is growing fast. Lipid and carbohydrate extracts are examples of starting materials employed to purify these relevant compounds. At the same time supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) is an emerging technique for preparative separation due to (1) use of supercritical fluids, commonly carbon dioxide, giving a large reduction in use of organic solvents; and (2) new hardware has been made commercially available recently that makes SFC a viable option. SFC fulfills high demands with respect to selectivity, versatility and sensibility. Fractionation or purification by SFC of high-valued compounds from natural sources is an interesting option, the relevance of which will increase in the future. This paper is a survey of trends and applications of SFC in the field of natural products purification.
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