Each kind of biological material is different in structure, physical and chemical properties, biological properties, and the source of raw materials, the use of final products are also different. Therefore, different biological substances have a variety of different means of separation and purification, even for the same substance, different technical routes or production lines can also adopt different separation and purification processes. However, the separation and purification of most biological substances has a basic framework, which is usually divided into the following steps according to the sequence of production processes.

Pretreatment of raw materials

The purpose of this step is to release the target product from the starting raw material (such as an organ, tissue or cell) while preserving the biological activity of the target product.

Removal of particle impurities

For technical and economic reasons, the number of unit operations available in this step is quite limited. Filtration and centrifugation are the basic unit operations. In order to accelerate the separation of solid-liquid two phases, coagulation and flocculation can be used simultaneously. In order to reduce the resistance of filter media, cross-flow membrane filtration technology can be used, but this step has little effect on product concentration and product quality improvement.

Removal of soluble impurities and preliminary purification of the target product

If the product is in the filtrate, if it is required to remove soluble impurities that are very different from the properties of the target product through this step, so that the concentration and quality of the product can be significantly improved, it often needs to go through a complex multi-stage processing procedure, which is impossible to be completed by a single unit operation. This step has a wide range of optional unit operations, such as adsorption, extraction and precipitation.

Refining of target products

There are only a few types of unit operations available in this step, but these technologies have high selectivity for products and are used to remove soluble impurities with similar chemical functions and physical properties. Typical unit operations include chromatographic analysis, electrophoresis and precipitation.

Finished product processing of target products

The final processing method is determined by the end use and requirements of the product. Concentration and crystallization are often the key to the operation. Most products must be dried, and some require necessary post-processing (such as modifications, the addition of stabilizers) to protect the biological activity of the target product.

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