The key difference between electrophoresis and chromatography is that the electrical properties of a chemical species are used for electrophoresis whereas the partition coefficient of a chemical species is used for the chromatography.
Both electrophoresis and chromatography are laboratory techniques that we use to analyze samples. However, chromatography has more commercial uses and is useful for large volumes whereas electrophoresis is basically an investigative technique that we use on a microscopic level.
What is Electrophoresis?
Electrophoresis is a laboratory technique that we use to analyze a sample using the electrical properties of the chemical species present in that sample. There, we can observe the motion of a dispersed particle in the sample. Hence, we can determine the motion of the chemical species relative to the fluid where it exists. However, we need to create some specific conditions. For instance, we should provide the fluid an influence from a spatially uniform electric field. The theory behind this technique is that different particles of a charged medium move at different migration rates in the presence of an electrical field.
A synonym for electrophoresis is “electrokinetic phenomena”. Besides, depending on the type of ion present in the sample, we can divide electrophoresis into two categories. Namely, they are cataphoresis and anaphoresis. Cataphoresis is for cations (positively charged ions) while anaphoresis is for anions (negatively charged ions). The most important application of electrophoresis is in the extraction of DNA fragments according to its size.
What is Chromatography?
Chromatography is an analytical technique that we use to analyze samples using the partition coefficients of chemical species present in the sample. This method is very useful in separating components in a mixture. For instance, chromatography is a very important technique that we use in the processing of human blood. Here, we use this technique to separate different components of the blood, for therapeutic use.
In this technique, we use two phases as mobile phase and stationary phase. Accordingly, the mobile phase should contain our sample, and the stationary phase helps to separate it into components. We pass the mobile phase with the sample through the stationary phase where the components in the sample move at different speeds. This causes the components to separate. Therefore, the theory behind the technique is the differential partitioning of components between the mobile and stationary phases.
What is the Difference Between Electrophoresis and Chromatography?
Electrophoresis is a laboratory technique that we use to analyze a sample using the electrical properties of the chemical species present in that sample whereas chromatography is an analytical technique that we use to analyze samples using the partition coefficients of chemical species present in the sample. Thus, this is the major difference between electrophoresis and chromatography. Moreover, a difference between electrophoresis and chromatography based on usage is that we can use chromatography for liquid, solid and gaseous compounds whereas we generally carry out electrophoresis on liquid and solid compounds only.
Summary – Electrophoresis vs Chromatography
Electrophoresis and chromatography techniques have revolutionized the ways of investigations that we carry out in laboratories. Consequently, these techniques provide a significant breakthrough in studying the DNA structure and in the detection of diseases associated with it. Electrophoresis has made DNA and gene mapping an easy task whereas chromatography has provided humans with the freedom to use all the blood components efficiently. The key difference between electrophoresis and chromatography is that the electrical properties of a chemical species are used for electrophoresis whereas the partition coefficient of a chemical species is used for the chromatography.
1.”Motion by electrophoresis of a charged particle”By Daniele Pugliesi – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Chromatography of chlorophyll – Step 7″By Flo~commonswiki – Own work, (CC BY-SA 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia