The ability to separate biological macromolecules with good resolution on liquid chromatographic columns has depended on the development of suitable packing materials. In size exclusion chromatography, molecules are separated by size on the basis of differential permeation of the packing. Ion exchange, hydrophobic interaction (or reversed-phase), and affinity chromatography are all surface-mediated separation methods, although they depend on different retention mechanisms. High-performance liquid chromatographic columns designed for biopolymers offer major advantages over conventional columns in both speed and resolving power. The exponential growth of literature on the high-performance separation of peptides and proteins in particular indicates that the technique will become the dominant form of column liquid chromatography.