Potential limitations of recrystallization for the definitive identification of radioactive steroids

Barry D. Albertson, Rick J. Schiebinger, Gordon B. Cutler, S. Edward Davis, D. Lynn Loriaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The usefulness of recrystallization in establishing the radiochemical purity of steroids is widely recognized, but the potential limitations of the technique have received little attention. The current study reports the failure of standard recrystallization procedures using methanol/water as the solvent pair to separate contaminating 14C-17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-hydroxy-4-pregnene-3, 20-dione) from 3H- and 14C-labeled 11-deoxycortisol (17,21-dihydroxy-4-pregnene-3,20-dione) despite ten serial crystallizations. The standard criteria of radiochemical purity were met despite gross impurity of the crystals as evidenced by thin layer chromatography. Thus, recrystallization may, under certain conditions, yield misleading results when employed as the only method for identifying radioactive steroids. These observations illustrate the importance of an optimal choice of solvent and crystallization conditions, and emphasize the need for confirmation by derivative formation and chromatography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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