Importance of analytical chemistry can be seen from the fact that it is offered.
What is analytical chemistry
Analytical chemistry is a branch of chemistry which deals with analysis of chemical substances of all sorts.
The importance of it is due to its ability to check the quality of foods, drugs and other chemicals which we use in daily life.
Without it, it would be impossible to keep up strict norms and the safety with use of chemicals.
How analytical chemistry test’s the substance?
It does so by two methods as
- Quality check and the other is
- Quantity check.
Quality check is also called qualitative analysis. Here in a substance, the nature of actual ingredient and other associated ingredients are identified.
For instance, let’s take up honey. It has many ingredients like water, sugar, pollen grains, invert sugars etc.
Here invert sugar is an adulterant added by the manufacturers to increase the bulk and make profits.
Qualitative analysis helps to see how much of each ingredient is present in the whole of honey sample. Presence of invert sugar indicates the quality of honey is low as it has impurities.
The other is Quantity check.
Quantity check is also called quantitative analysis. Here the extent of adulterant in the honey is identified. The more the invert sugar, the more is the decline in quality. Sometimes invert sugar is present naturally due to fermentation of sugar within honey. This natural formation has limits. If the limit exceeds, it means there was external addition by the supplier. So quantitative analytical chemistry helps to know how far the sample is adulterated. It helps us put limits of impurities that can be permissible in any given sample. So we see many products being rejected by FDI for not complying with the limits of safety for consumption. This is decided after careful analysis of the samples.
Thus analytical chemistry can help us in putting a check on quality and quantity control of a product.
Examples of analytical chemistry in our daily life:
Analytical chemistry is taught in schools and colleges. But its application is done in pharmacy industries, food, chemical, agriculture industries and also in scientific labs. Some of the tools used in the field are quite expensive that one cannot afford at homes.
All the packed foods we buy, medicines, chemicals, cosmetics undergo thorough quality test before being released into market.
Importance of analytical chemistry in pharmacy:
Pharmacy is one of the subjects where analytical chemistry is studied vastly. It is used for purposes like checking the quality of inorganic compounds, organic compounds, drugs and other useful chemicals.
- To determine self-life of compound. Self-life is the time period till which a compound will be fit for use. For medicines, it is the time required for 90% of drug ingredient to stay active after the date of manufacture. Hence we notice expiry date clearly marked on all the medicine packages. So in pharmacy we notice some medicines stored in refrigerator and some in dark places to maintain the self-life.
- To determine adulterants: During manufacture of drug, there are many chemical intermediates and reagents used. So there are many chances that impurities like heavy metals, dirt etc. can also be present in final preparation. Analytical chemistry is used to see if the formulation is within limits of contamination. If the contamination is more, then it is unfit for consumption.
- Drug dissolution studies: When a medical formulation is made in the form of a tablet, ointment, capsule etc. It is tested for its ability to release the medicine from within when put in a suitable medium. The dissolution studies are done to see if the medicine is released completely from the tablet. Also the time taken for release. Both these factors are essential because when a tablet is swallowed, it stays in the stomach only for an hour. So if it has to release the medicine, it has to do it within one hour. Also a medicine shows its effects at suitable dose and not sub-doses. So the tablet has to release the entire content within the said time. Hence dissolution studies are done by using analytical chemistry to test the release of drug from a formulation.
It is also used as a part of medicinal chemistry for qualitative and quantitative analysis.
Application in agriculture:
It is used for 3 aspects in agriculture viz.
- Soil testing: This is done to study the inorganic and organic minerals in the soil. This tells how far the soil is suitable for growth of particular crop. It also gives an idea of microbial environment, fertility and pesticide residues in the soil.
- Water testing: Not all water is suitable for growth of crops. Some of the water is very hard that it deposits lime on the fertile soil making it unfit for further cultivation. By analytical chemistry one can analyze the water for its constituents and make suitable changes to it.
- Harvested crop testing. Once the crop is harvested, it is tested for its quality in terms of the pesticide residues, any contaminants etc. If the material has high amount of pesticide or other waste, it is rejected for human use.
Importance of analytical chemistry in environment:
Similarly, in environment studies, it is widely used for study of air condition (pollution), water and soil contents in a particular locale.
In medical technology & research:
This is also a field which is highly reliant on analytical chemistry. In health care it finds its use in diagnosis.
Simple tests like serum cholesterol, urine ketones, blood glucose level rely on analytical chemistry.
For example, the blood glucose is estimated by many methods. But one of the common one is to convert the glucose into a colored substance in a beaker and analyze it by titration with a reacting mixture.
Similarly serum cholesterol is centrifuged and then a coloring substance is added. The superficial layer having cholesterol is (which is already colored) is taken into a cuvette and quantified by spectrophotometry.
Thus we regularly use analytical chemistry and its principles for various diagnostic test in health care.
So what are the methods used for the purpose?
There are many methods of analysis but some of them are routinely used as they are inexpensive, less time taking and versatile (suitable for many).