Over the past few years, increasing attention has been paid to the search for bioactive compounds from natural sources. The success of plant-derived products such as paclitaxel (Taxol) in tumor therapy or artemisinin in the treatment of malaria has provided the impetus for the introduction of numerous research programmes, especially in Industry. A great deal of effort is being expended in the generation of novel lead molecules of vegetable, marine and microbial origin by the use of high throughput screening protocols. When interesting hits are found, it is essen- tial to have methods available for the rapid isolation of target compounds. For this reason, both industry and academia need efficient preparative chromatographic separation techniques and experience in their application. Purified natural products are required for complete spectro- scopic identification and full characterization of new compo- unds, for biological testing and for the supply of pharmaceuti- cals, standards, and starting materials for synthetic work. Obtaining pure products from an extract can be a very long, te- dious and expensive undertaking, involving many steps. Sometimes only minute amounts of the desired compounds are at hand and these entities may be labile. Thus it is an advantage to have access to as many different methods as possible in order to aid the isolation process. Although a certain amount of trial and error may be involved, nowadays there is the possibility of devising suitable rapid separation schemes by a judicious choice of the different techniques available.