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Synthetic polymeric resins in downstream processing for food, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals


Alessandra Basso, Benjamin Summers*, Simona Serban, Christopher Bresner
*Corresponding author
Purolite Ltd., Unit D, South Wales, United Kingdom


Synthetic polymers can offer significant advantages over the use of silica-based resins. In this study, a selection of commercially-available synthetic polymeric resins is applied to several purification experiments to demonstrate the utility of this class of product for downstream processing in food, chemical and pharmaceutical applications.  Seven polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) with different hydrophobic properties and number of aromatic rings were recovered from a heptane solution and the wash solution optimised for recovery. Binding capacities of different size proteins and an example separation of lysozyme and bacitracin are also presented. The general utility of these resins is clearly demonstrated by the excellent results observed for solid phase extraction (SPE) of PAH molecules by the resin Chromalite 70MN and the good protein recoveries obtained, especially for the resin Chromalite PCG1200M.


Since the early 1970s, liquid chromatography has become the premier separation method for a large variety of organic substances in research and small scale product recovery up to industrial scale. (1) Because the mobile phase is a liquid, the requirement for vaporization is eliminated, and therefore LC can separate a much broader range of substances than GC. Liquid chromatography therefore facilitates separation and purification of molecules as wide ranging in size as organic acids all the way up to large biomolecules, including proteins. To be able to isolate a specific molecule from a crude mixture the physical and chemical properties of the individual molecule and the stationary phase must be considered carefully. This is why a broad variety of chromatographic matrices have been developed to allow separation of molecules exploiting either their hydrophobic structure (Hydrophobic Interaction Chromatography, HIC (2-4)  and Reversed Phase Chromatography, RPC), or the net charge at certain pH (Ion Exchange Chromatography, IEX) (5,6), or exploiting the selectivity towards a specific portion of the molecule (Affinity Chromatography) (7, 8).

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