The availability of sufficient quantities of quality DNA is always a crucial point in DNA based methods, i.e. for PCR, DNA sequencing, Southern blotting, and microarrays [1]. The same is true for the PCR-based methods for detection of genetically modified food [2]. During the production chain foods passes several physical, biological, and chemical processes, which all negatively influences on the quantity of available DNA. The phenomenon is especially expressive when high temperature treatment is performed at low pH [3]. The existing methods for DNA isolation from food cannot always fulfill the expectations of quantity and quality of isolated DNA. Furthermore they usually include 100 mg of sample and are difficult to scale-up [4]. Four major chromatographic modes are used for the separation of DNA: size-exclusion, anion-exchange, ion-pair reversephased, and slalom chromatography. Of these, anion-exchange chromatography combined with micropellicular packing is described as the most prominent technique so far [1].
Anion-exchange CIM® (Convective Interaction Media) monolithic columns allow fast and flow unaffected separation of several biomolecules, including nucleic acids [5].

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In recent years bacteriophages were identified as a useful potential tool for different applications such as alternative to antibiotics, detection of pathogenic bacteria, delivery vehicles for protein and DNA vaccines and as gene therapy delivery vehicles. For all listed fields of use it is important that phages are highly purified with preserved biological activity. Phage and other virus purification have traditionally been carried out by CsCl2 density gradient ultracentrifugation, which is however difficult to be scaled-up. An alternative is chromatography, which already proved to be efficient for separation and purification of certain virus types. Methacrylate monoliths (CIM Convective Interaction Media® monolithic columns) were designed for purification of bionanoparticles and they already proved to be very efficient for concentration and purification of several plant and human viruses (influenza A, influenza B, adenovirus type 5, hepatitis A and others).

Our aim was to investigate whether CIM methacrylate monolithic columns can be implemented for purification of phages. Staphylococcus aureus phage VDX-10 was selected. Chromatographic support chemistry and buffer screening led to development of purification method on strong anion exchanger. Optimised single step purification method developed for S. aureus VDX-10 phage on CIM® QA monolithic column resulted in efficient removal of host cell DNA and proteins with high recovery of viable phage.

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The biotechnological production of recombinants proteins consists of two main processes, upstream (biosynthesis) and downstream (protein purification) process. During the last decades the upstream process for mammalian cell culture has been improved significantly yielding in high amounts of protein. This development however led to a new challenge : the downstream process became a bottle-neck because of the large amounts of protein per batch in combination with the protein specific behaviors at high concentration.

In protein purification preparative chromatography is synonymous to “column chromatography”, and the favorable statics of a column are out of question for the physical requirements of beaded matrices. However, when approaching larger scales the physical dimensions of chromatography columns turn unfavorable: shallow gel beds of wide diameters. The footprint of such device increases drastically as does the weight, consequently resulting in limitations regarding floor space and floor bearing force.

A suitable chromatographic base matrix that is not obliged to a distinctive column design is a single piece of polymer – a monolith. Leaving the conventional column design, we have constructed a device for a monolith of rectangular shape, with the size of the monolith only limited by total weight (e.g. for handling and / or transportation). Using this design in a modular way, the individual modules can be stacked to make use of the height of a room at a very low footprint. A specific distribution system for feeding the monolith modules has been designed to allow a true linear scale-up from laboratory to large technical scale.

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CIMac™ Analytical Columns are high-performance monolithic columns offering all the advantages of a special continuous short polymeric bed and are primarily intended for fast, efficient and reproducible separations of biomolecules like large proteins – antibodies (IgG, IgM), plasmid DNA, phages and viral particles. Their small volume and short column length allow the operation at high volumetric flow rates (from 1 to 30 column volumes/min) thus enabling receiving the information about the product quantity and purity in just a few minutes. These columns are pre-packed in dedicated stainless steel housings and allow user friendly connections to HPLC equipment. The product family offers strong cation exchange, strong and weak anion exchange and specialty analytical column for plasmid DNA. All columns can be effectively used for the in-process and final control of various samples from different purification process steps.

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In recent decades much work has been done on the development and optimisation of chromatographic supports in order to achieve efficient purification of biomolecules.

In the presented study we have investigated hydrodynamic and chromatographic properties of weak anion-exchange grafted monoliths (DEAE). Varying the concentration of the grafted polymer, grafted monoliths with different layer thickness and degree of branching were obtained. This results in a different hydrodynamic and chromatographic behavior of the examined monoliths such as permeability, ionic capacity and dynamic binding capacity (DBC) for the BSA protein. The DBC increases with the grafted layer thickness probably due to higher number of binding sites available for binding of the macromolecules. However, longer chains contribute to the reduction of the pore volume which results in a higher pressure drop. The latter can be additionally increased when biomolecules of interest are bound to the matrix. From this data information about the penetration depth into the grafted layer can be obtained giving an insight into the binding mechanism. Since the flow-unaffected properties were preserved even for large biomolecules, grafted monoliths may become a resin of choice for downstream processing of various macromolecules.

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Protein L binds certain types of kappa light chains containing Fv and Fab fragments prepared from antibodies. In the case of IgG's the strong binding affinity refers only to human, mouse and rat species. It offers an advantage over Protein A and G as it binds to kappa light chains regardless of heavy chain subclass and can therefore binds up to 60% of IgG antibodies from human serum sample.

The main goal of our work was the preparation and characterization of CIM Protein L disks. First, Protein L disks with different densities of Protein L on the support were prepared in order to define the dependance of the IgG capacity on the amount of the bound Protein L. Further on, the method of characterization of Protein L disk using IgG was developed. In the end, the stability of the developed CIM Protein L disks in different solutions was tested in order to define the operating and storage conditions.

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Analysis of a large number of samples requires chromatographic support that not only enables fast separation and purification of a target biomolecule from a complex matrix but also support an automation of a process. The methacrylate 96-well monolithic plate format enables both. 96-well monolithic plate reduces experimental time because it allows fast and efficient evaluation of parameters for binding and elution conditions. This format is a quicker alternative to several consecutive tests on chromatographic column.

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Affinity chromatography is a key method for protein purification. Its main advantage is in the high specificity which enables purification of a single protein from complex biological mixtures. For practical use the specific ligand should be immobilised on insoluble matrix. As a matrix, standard chromatographic supports are commonly used. They are normally in form of small (some m in diameter) particles containing pores to provide high specific surface resulting in high binding capacity. The pores are normally closed on one side, thus the liquid inside them is stagnant and the molecules are transported to the active site by diffusion. Since the diffusion coefficients for macromolecules, such as proteins, are very low, diffusion determines the overall process dynamics. As a consequence, separation or purification of the proteins takes normally 0.5 to 1h even on analytical scale.

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Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is serine protease which converts plasminogen into plas-min dissolving the major component of blood clots, fibrin. So, it can be extremely useful in clinical practice to help curing of heart attack victims. The most available way protein producing is genetic engineering where separation and purification of goal protein are one of the important steps in protein producing process.

Recently developed High performance monolithic disk chromatography, HPMDC, seems to be a very attractive way for study quantitative affinity parameters of recombinant proteins with different ligands as well as for protein separations and purifications. High process speed prevents the denatura-tion due to temperature and solvents influence. The better mass transfer mechanism (convection rather than diffusion) allows to consider only the biospecific reaction as time limiting.

It is known that plasminogen, which is the natural substratum for t-PA, can be successfully used as affinity ligand to separate t-PA from cellular media. However, the use of synthetic ligands for affinity chromatography is more preferable due to their higher stability and lower total cost.

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Ion exchange chromatography is one of the most commonly used techniques for the purification and separation of polar samples such as minerals in water or charged biomolecules (Figure 1).

The technique is based upon reversible binding of the charged species to an oppositely charged group that is attached to an insoluble matrix. A quantitative measure of an ion exchanger’s ability to take up exchangeable counter-ions is its capacity, which strongly influence support properties and can be measured by potentiometric titration with a strong acid or base [2]. However, the time to achieve the ion exchange equilibrium (the stationary state the potentiometric titration is based upon) is very long [3]. Consequently, a new method to measure the total ionic capacity of anion exchange resins is being developed.

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CIM (Convective Interaction Media) represent a new generation of chromatographic supports. In contrast to conventional particle supports, where the void volume between individual porous particles is unavoidable, CIM supports consist of a single monolith with open channels. In this way, molecules to be separated are transported into the pores by convection, resulting in short separation times.

CIMsupports proved to be very efficient for extremely fast separations of proteins in ion exchange, hydrophobic interaction and affinity chromatography mode. Recently, the successful separation of DNA as well as some smaller molecules like e.g. peptides and oligonucleotides were also performed.

All the above mentioned separations were carried out on an analytical scale with the use of 0.34 mL CIM discs. The scale-up of monolithic units was limited mainly due to the problems associated to the mechanical stability, poor sample distribution and higher backpressures. The change from the axial to radial flow enables the design of the so-called 8 and 80mLCIM tubes. They were basically designed for very fast purification of macromolecules.

In this work we present some basic characteristics of these newly developed units in terms of separation and binding capacity. In addition, some practical examples will be given and discussed as well.

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Analysis of a large numbers of samples requires chromatographic supports that not only enable fast separation and purification of a target biomolecules from a complex matrix but are also involved in an automation process. The 96 – microtiter plate format enables both. Although they are routinely used for decade's only recently few reports about the microtiter plates bearing monoliths as a separation media, were reported [1]. Because of advantageous properties such as flow unaffected dynamic binding capacity and resolution 96 - microtiter plates with methacrylate based monolith were prepared. Characterisation of such plate demonstrated that uniform flow rate can be achieved through all wells and no leakage is present. Efficient separation of proteins was achieved within minute. Furthermore CLC (Conjoined Liquid Chromatography) concept [2] originally derived for analytical columns on CIM disk, can easily be extrapolated to microtiter plates. We demonstrated that multidimensional chromatography with 96 – well plate is feasible and can further accelerate screening processes.

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The only four drugs approved for the clinical treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (tacrine, rivastigmine, donepezil and galantamine) are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which act by maintaining high levels of acetylcholine at the muscarinic and nicotinic receptors in the central nervous system. Human acetyicholinesterase (HuAChE) represents a widely studied target enzyme and it is still object of research for the development of new drugs as enzyme inhibitors.

In a previous paper il] we reported the immobilisation of AChE on a silica based chromatographic column (50 x 4.6 mm I.D.) The yield of immobilization and the stability of the AChE—IMEN were considered satisfactory, hut some problems arose. The length of the IMER and the large amount of enzyme covalently bound to the chromatographic support resulted in catalysis product long elution times and some inhibitors aspecific matrix absorption with delayed enzyme activity recovery. In order to avoid these complications and considering the high rate of AChE enzymatic reaction, we decided to reduce the dimension of the solid support for immobilization, hence the amount of immobilized enzyme, by selecting a monolithic matrix disk (12 x 3 min I.D.).

CIMa (Convective Interaction Media) monolithic supports (Bia Separations, Ljubljana) represent a novel generation of stationary phases used for liquid chromatography, bioconversions, and solid phase synthesis. As opposed to individual particles packed into chromatographic columns, CIM supports are cast as continuous homogeneous phases and provide high rates of mass transfer at lower back pressure.

In the present work a CIM® disk with immobilised human recombinant acetylcholinesterase (HuAChECIM€ Disk) was developed. The activity of immobilised enzyme, the long term stability and reproducibility were tested. HuAChECIM disk was applied as an immobilised enzyme micro-reactor (micro-IMER) in on-line HPLC system for inhibitory potency determination of known AChE inhibitors.

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Commercially available CIM® disk monolithic columns are intended for very fast analyzes and laboratory purification. Their shape is a compromise to achieve acceptable resolution and binding capacity what make them suitable for wide range of laboratory applications. Separations of complex protein mixtures can be carried out within just a few seconds because of flow unaffected resolution and, on the other hand, purification can be effectuated with high productivity due to flow-unaffected dynamic binding capacity [1]. However, in many cases in the field of molecular biology, only a limited amount of sample is available. In such a case it is beneficial to work with small columns having high resolution or they can be used as affinity columns or bioreactors saving significant amount of valuable ligand. Having this goal in mind we developed CIM® disks with the volume of 1/10th and 1/100th of original volume. In comparison to conventional CIM® disks, they exhibit higher resolution and lower limit of detection, therefore smaller concentrations of target macromolecules can be detected. The separation ability and the protein capacity were tested on anion and cation exchange 3.4 mL and 34m L mini disk monolithic columns.

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There are many different chromatographic supports on market. Although main part of them are particle shaped supports, the so-called monoliths are becoming increasingly more important. Particle based supports are commonly uniform-sized of some micron with high porosity. The pores are required to increase the specific surface area and, as a consequence, to increase the binding capacity. Since the pores are closed on one side, the liquid inside them is stagnant and the movement of molecules is governed by diffusion. Therefore, to obtain a good separation and a high binding capacity, low flow rates should commonly be applied. This results in flowdependent resolution of the separation and dynamic binding capacity.

In contrast to conventional porous particles the morphological characteristics of CIM supports are characterised by a single monolithic unit that contains pores, opened on both sides. These pores are highly interconnected forming a flow-through a network. All the mobile phase is forced to run through these open pores, therefore, the mass transfer between stationary and mobile phases is based on convective flow. One of the key features of monolithic units is their pore size distribution that should enable low back pressure at high throughputs together with high specific surface area, needed for high binding capacity.

In this work, dynamic characteristics of CIM disks bearing weak anion exchange groups for binding Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) were studied. Reproducibility was checked and protein concentration as well as the flow rate were varied. Preliminary results confirm the flow independence of the dynamic binding capacity in the whole range of applied flow rates.

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Monolithic chromatographic supports can efficiently be used for fast separation and purification of different types of molecules, both in the analytical and preparative scale. CIM Convective Interaction Media™ monolithic columns are macroporous polymeric supports that allow in-seconds separation of proteins and other biomolecules in gradient and isocratic modes.

In this work, the results showing the main characteristics of CIM™ columns are presented. The breakthrough curves at different flow rates were measured and it is shown that the dynamic binding capacity is practically unaffected by increased flow rates. The adsorption isotherm is almost rectangular exhibiting a highly favourable conditions for binding the tested components to the matrix. Furthermore, relatively high binding capacity is still maintained at elevated ionic strengths of the binding buffer. Finally, the HETP values of the components with different molecular masses are presented.

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Monoliths are becoming very attractive stationary phases due to their advantageous hydrodynamic characteristics. The main difference in comparison to conventional particle beds is in their structure. Conventional particle based supports consist of few-micrometer sized porous particles while the monoliths consist of a single piece of porous material. The pores are highly interconnected forming a network of channels. Since the flow of the liquid within the channels is driven by the pressure difference, the molecules to be separated are transported to the active sites located on the surface of the channels by convection increasing their mobility by several orders of magnitude. Because of that, it is possible to perform an efficient separation of large molecules within a very short time. Furthermore, the efficiency as well as the dynamic binding capacity are independent on linear velocity within the range of tested flow rates.

Glycidyl methacrylate based monoliths were introduced in 1990. They were polymerised from glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and ethylene dimethacrylate (EDMA) in the presence of porogens and an initiator. So far they have been successfully applied in a variety of different applications on an analytical scale: for separation and purification of proteins, DNA, smaller molecules like organic acids, hydroxybenzoates, oligonucleotides and peptides as well as sensors incorporated in a FIA system1.

Preparation of large volume GMA-EDMA monoliths is however problematic. The reason is an increase of the temperature inside the monomer mixture during polymerisation since the reaction is highly exothermic. Because of the bulk polymerisation, temperature increase inside the monomer mixture during the polymerisation can not be avoided, resulting in an extremely inhomogeneous structure of the monolith2. In this work, we introduce an approach for the construction of large scale monoliths in the annulus shape and demonstrate their applicability for chromatographic separation and purification.

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There is a rapidly increasing development of new materials in the field of chromatographic supports stimulated by the need to achieve fast and reliable separation of different solutes.

The generally used chromatographic supports are based on beads packed in the columns. Although these stationary phases have been continuously improved over the last decades, there are still some limitations present. The absence of flow within the pore matrix of particles, slow diffusional mass transfer of solutes, in some cases high back pressure and laborious handling represent the major hindrances.

Development of monolithic materials is a chronicle of efforts to overcome problems of packed particles. Monolithic separation media, made in one piece, contain only flow-through pores, which significantly augment the mass transfer based on convection. This enables use of high mobile phase velocities along with low back pressures and therefore fast separations without decrease of resolution.

This report presents the preparation of glycidylmethacrylatestearylmethacryate- ethylenedimethacrylate and styrene-divinylbenzene monoliths. The porous structure of the support obtained will be discussed. Finally, a few examples of separation of proteins and small molecules with monolithic CIM C-18 and CIM SDVB disks in reversed-phase chromatography will be displayed.

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CIM® (Convective Interaction Media) supports represent the fourth generation of chromatographic supports monoliths. These glycidyl methacrylate based monolithic columns are commercially available under the name CIM®. In contrast to conventional porous particles the morphology of the CIM® supports is characterised by a single monolithic unit that contains pores, opened on both sides. These pores are highly interconnected forming a flow-through network. Thus the whole mobile phase is forced to run through these open pores, therefore, the mass transfer between stationary and mobile phase is based on convection rather than on diffusion. This transport mechanism enables very fast separations and purifications of components as well as flow-unaffected resolution and dynamic binding capacity. The latter is especially important for the purification of molecules on preparative level where the productivity is essential. One of the key features of monolithic units is their pore size distribution that should enable low backpressure at high throughputs together with high specific surface area, needed for high binding capacity. In this work the effect of different parameters on binding capacity of CIM® monolithic columns is presented.

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Gene therapy which is becoming more and more important in human health care requires the purification of high molecular mass compounds, so called nanoparticles (e. g. viruses and plasmids). The method of choice to ensure proper purity would be chromatography.

Most of the chromatographic supports available on the market at the moment can not follow the requests for such work due to low binding capacity for large molecules, limitation with regards to the time of the separation process and requests for CIP (cleaning in place) and SIP (sanitation in place).

Monolithic supports represent a new generation of chromatographic supports. In contrast to conventional particle supports, where the void volume between individual porous particles is unavoidable, these supports consist of a single monolith highly interconnected with larger and smaller open flow-through channels. Due to the structure, molecules to be separated are transported to the active sites on the stationary phase by convection, resulting in very short separation times. This is especially true for large molecules.

In this work we will present the use of monolithic supports for the separation of different nanoparticles on analytical and preparative scales. It will be shown that monolithic supports can overcome the limitations of particle-based supports for the analytics and isolation of big molecules and represent a major step towards the safe and efficient purification or production of nanoparticles.

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