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2001

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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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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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® are polymer-based monolithic supports which were introduced for chromatographic analyses, in-process control, solid phase extraction, and purification of target biomolecules, both on an analytical and on a preparative scale 1, 2. CIM supports perform high-resolution separations within seconds. This is predominantly due to the convective mass transport of the biomolecules between the mobile and stationary phases and the very low dead volume of the separation unit. One of the main concerns in the last few years was the batch-to-batch reproducibility of the monoliths during manufacturing and the possibility of using the monolithic supports for validated analytical methods. The batch-to-batch reproducibility in product preparation as well as its stability during analytical work should fulfill all the requirements for a validated analytical method. To demonstrate that this is possible, we have selected one complex example – the determination of impurities in immunoglobulins (IgGs) where a multidimensional, so called CLC (Conjoint Liquid Chromatography), approach combining the ion exchange and affinity chromatography was needed to properly analyze the sample.

Therefore, two CIM Protein G disks and one CIM QA disk were placed in series in one housing. Binding conditions were optimized in a way that the IgGs were bound to the CIM Protein G disks while Transferrin and Albumin were separated on a CIM QA disk. A complete separation of all three proteins was achieved in five minutes.

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2000

Production and downstream processing in biotechnology requires fast and accurate control of each step in the process. Liquid chromatography of biopolymers on so-called soft supports is typically slow, often causing significant product degradation. One way of improving these boundary conditions in liquid chromatography is the use of monolithic adsorbents. The basis for fast separations with such media is a reduced mass transfer resistance owing to the fact that pore diffusion is practically non-existent. Chromatography with compact, porous units such as monolithic columns is being used increasingly for analytical and preparative separations of biopolymers with apparent molecular mass ranging from several thousand to up to several million.

This paper describes the use of a CIM® Convective Interaction Media for fast purification of plasmid DNA as well as for the concentration of viruses. Plasmid DNAs are circular duplex DNA molecules that are maintained stable as episomal genetic information within bacteria. They play an important role in gene technology - they are used for applications such as transformation, sequencing, transfection studies, etc. These applications require satisfactory purity of used plasmid DNA. For purification of plasmid DNA from Escherichia coli, monolithic units as anion-exchangers (CIM® DEAE and QA disks) were used. Separation of RNA from DNA as well as concentration of plasmid DNA were performed on the same disks.

All the methods for concentration of viruses, in general, are expensive, time-consuming and they are frequently not very successful. Therefore an attempt to bind viruses on an anion exchanger (CIM® DEAE disk) and elute bound virions in small volume (concentration) was done. As a model virus, measles was chosen. Using CIM® DEAE disk concentration of the measles viruses was successfully performed in less than 10 minutes.

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Convective Interaction Media (CIM) are newly developed polymer-based monolithic supports which were introduced for chromatographic analyses, in-process control, solid phase extraction and laboratory purification of target biomolecules, both on analytical and on preparative scale. CIM supports allow high resolution separations which can, in case of analytical units - disks - be carried out within seconds (Figures 1 and 2). This is due to predominantly convective mass transport of biomolecules between the mobile and stationary phase and low dead volumes. Additionally, the dynamic binding capacity is not affected by high flow rates.

CIM can be scaled up to preparative level. For this purpose, the tubular-shaped monolithic units are prepared and placed in special housings (Figure 3). These preparative tubes are intended for very fast preparative purification of biomolecules from complex mixtures. Due to their special design, which allows radial flow of the liquid through the porous wall of the tube, and due to their low resistance to flow, the separations can be carried out at high flow rates and low back pressures (Figure 4). Small-scale preparative tubes are made of the same material as analytical CIM disks. In this way, the purification and monitoring processes can be performed on the same type of support by applying identical separation modes. The scaling-up from analytical to preparative level can therefore be carried out in a much shorter time, thus considerably reducing the cost of process development. In addition, this speed has an economic potential not only for faster and therefore cheaper production, but it will also lead to better quality and yield of unstable products.

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Strains of the anaerobic bacterial genus are thought to play an important role in fiber degradation. sp. Mz5 was previously isolated from the rumen of a black and white Friesian cow and its xylanolytic activity was proved to be at least 1,65 times higher than the activities of all of the compared well known xylan-degrading rumen bacterial species and strains (1). High xylanolytic activity was the reason for partial isolation of its xylanases in order to study their special characteristics and possible biotechnological applications later.

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Production and downstream processing in biotechnology requires fast and accurate control of each step in the process. Liquid chromatography of biopolymers on so-called soft supports is typically slow, often causing significant product degradation. One way of improving these boundary conditions in liquid chromatography is the use of monolithic adsorbents. The basis for fast separations with such media is a reduced mass transfer resistance owing to the fact that pore diffusion is practically non-existent [1]. Chromatography with compact, porous units such as monolithic columns is being used increasingly for analytical and preparative separations of biopolymers with apparent molecular mass ranging from several thousand to up to several million [2]. This paper describes the use of a CIM® Convective Interaction Media [3] for fast in-process analyses and preparative separations (up-scaling) of pharmaceutically relevant biopolymers such as clotting factor IX. Human factor IX is a vitamin K-dependent multidomain glycoprotein synthesized in liver [4]. The absence or a defect of factor IX causes haemophilia B, a genetic disease in which the clotting cascade is disturbed. The concentration of factor IX in human plasma is about 5 μg/ml (0.1 μM). Because of the low concentration in human plasma, isolation of clotting factor IX has been performed by a combination of different chromatographic methods. However, it has not been possible to remove vitronectin, one of the final contaminants from factor IX purified with conventional gel supports used in the manufacturing process of commercial factor IX preparations. This paper investigates the application of CIM® monolithic columns for the separation of vitronectin from factor IX and fast in-process control of factor IX [5].

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Production and down-stream processing in biotechnology requires fast and accurate control of each step in the process. Liquid chromatography of biopolymers on so-called soft supports is typically slow, often causing significant product degradation. One way of improving these boundary conditions in liquid chromatography is the use of monolithic adsorbents. The basis for fast separations with such media is a reduced mass transfer resistance owing to the fact that pore diffusion is practically non-existent. Chromatography with compact, porous units such as monolithic columns is being used increasingly for analytical and preparative separations of biopolymers with apparent molecular mass ranging from several thousand to up to several million.

This paper describes the use of a CIM® Convective Interaction Media for fast purification of plasmid DNA as well as for the concentration of viruses.

Plasmid DNAs are circular duplex DNA molecules that are maintained stable as episomal genetic information within bacteria. They play an important role in gene technology - they are used for applications such as transformation, sequencing, transfection studies, etc. These applications require satisfactory purity of used plasmid DNA. For purification of plasmid DNA from Escherichia coli, monolithic units as anion-exchangers (CIM® DEAE and QA disks) were used. Separation of RNA from DNA as well as concentration of plasmid DNA were performed on the same disks.

All the methods for concentration of viruses, in general, are expensive, time-consuming and they are frequently not very successful. Therefore an attempt to bind viruses on an anion exchanger (CIM® DEAE disk) and elute bound virions in small volume (concentration) was done. As a model virus, measles was chosen. Using CIM® DEAE disk concentration of the measles viruses was successfully performed in less than 10 minutes.

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CIM® disk monolithic columns are monolithic columns based on glycidyle methacrylate ethylene dimethacrylate copolymers. They have become popular for separation of proteins and polynucleotides. A method for directed synthesis of peptides on these monoliths was developed. With a peptide directed against human blood coagulation factor VIII, the functionality of the CIM® disk monolithic column was checked.

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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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1999

High performance membrane chromatography (HPMC) proved to be a very efficient method for fast protein separations. Recently, it was shown to be applicable also for the isocratic separation of plasmid DNAconformations. However, no study about the separation of small molecules was performed until now. In this work, we investigated the possibility of gradient and isocratic separations of small molecules with Convective Interaction Media (CIM) disks of different chemistries. We proved that it was possible to achieve efficient separations of oligonucleotides and peptides in the ion-exchange mode as well as the separation of small hydrophobic molecules in the reversed phase mode. Fairly good separation of four oligonucleotides could be achieved on the disk of 0.3 mm thickness. The effect of the gradient parameters on the resolution in the case of gradient mode was studied and compared with the separation under isocratic conditions.

It was shown that similar peak resolution can be achieved in both gradient and isocratic modes. In addition, it was found that the flow rate does not have a pronounced influence on the resolution in the flow rate range between 1 and 10 mL/min. However, it seems that the resolution with the flow rate even slightly increases as a consequence of the increased pore accessibility. In accordance with conventional particle HPLC columns, the resolution increases with the monolith thickness. On the other hand, the mobile phase composition has to be carefully adjusted to obtain optimal resolution, especially in the case of isocratic separations. Because of this feature, CIM monoliths seem to be competitive to other, commercially available stationary phases.

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Organic acids are important metabolites of several biochemical pathways in microorganisms and as such they are frequent main or by-products in different bioprocesses. Consequently, a demand for their monitoring is often present. One of the most applied methods for organic acids determination is certainly HPLC using different separation mechanisms such as reversed-phase, ion-exchange or ion-exclusion chromatography, all based on separation under isocratic flow conditions. To achieve the isocratic separation, multiple steps of adsorption-desorption process are needed and therefore conventional chromatographic columns with long layer of separation material were considered as a necessary tool for achieving this effect.

Recently, it was shown that isocratic separation could also be performed on thin monolithic layers. The isocratic separations of plasmid DNA conformers (1), oligonucleotides (2, 3) and peptides (3) in the ion-exchange mode were demonstrated as well as isocratic reversed-phase separation of a mixture of steroids was obtained (3) all on thin GMA-EDMA monoliths commercially available under trademark CIM™ (Convective Interaction Media). The results indicated the possibility of applying CIM™ monolithic columns also for isocratic separation of some other small charged molecules. Since the average analysis time using CIM™ disk monolithic columns is up to a few minutes, these supports can be a material of choice for separation of organic acids.

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Synthetic oligonucleotides play an important role as novel therapeutic agents.

One of the most important, but also very time-consuming steps in synthetic oligonucleotides production is their purification. Due to their high-resolution power, reversed-phase and ion-exchange chromatography are the most widely used techniques for these purposes. For the reversed-phase separations oligonucleotides need to be kept as 5'-O-dimethoxytrityl derivatives until the purification process is completed and only then the detritylation takes place. Both these steps lower the yield of the production process. In the contrary, ion-exchange chromatography offers applications to deprotected oligonucleotides directly and that is the reason why this chromatography mode is more preferred.

Convective Interaction Media (CIM) are newly developed polymerbased monolithic supports allowing high resolution separations which can be carried out within seconds in the case of analytical units - disks. This is due to predominantly convective mass transport of biomolecules between the mobile and stationary phase and very low dead volumes. Additionally, the dynamic binding capacity is not affected by high flow rates.

In this work weak (DEAE) anion-exchange CIM supports have been successfully applied for the analysis and purification of synthetic oligonucleotides.

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Convective Interaction Media (CIM) are newly developed polymer-based monolithic supports which were introduced for chromatographic analyses, in-process control, solid phase extraction and laboratory purification of target biomolecules, both on analytical and on preparative scale. CIM supports allow high resolution separations which can, in case of analytical units - disks - be carried out within seconds. This is due to predominantly convective mass transport of biomolecules between the mobile and stationary phase and low dead volumes. Additionally, the dynamic binding capacity is not affected by high flow rates.

CIM can be scaled up to preparative level. For this purpose, the tubularshaped monolithic units are prepared and placed in special housings. These preparative tubes are intended for very fast preparative purification of biomolecules from complex mixtures. Due to their special design, which allows radial flow of the liquid through the porous wall of the tube, and due to their low resistance to flow, the separations can be carried out at high flow rates and low back pressures. Small-scale preparative tubes are made of the same material as analytical CIM disks. In this way, the purification and monitoring processes can be performed on the same type of support by applying identical separation modes. The scaling-up from analytical to preparative level can therefore be carried out in a much shorter time, thus considerably reducing the cost of process development. In addition, this speed has an economic potential not only for faster and therefore cheaper production, but it will also lead to better quality and yield of unstable products.

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Found recently serine protease called, as tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is able to dissolve efficiently the blood clots. Thus this protein seems to be extremely useful in clinical practice in the cases of heart attack victims.

Real process of fibrinolysis in human blood system represents very complicated network of simultaneous biological events. It is clear that t-PA has a branched set of functional complements with their own, and probably different, affinity to this enzyme. It seems to be possible and quite interesting to investigate all these pairs separately creating them in vitro. At the same time, it is clear that the affinity chromatography approach could become as the most convenient way to create such biological pairs.

The recently developed High Performance Membrane (Monolith) Chromatography (HPMC) is quite promising in this regard, because of its high capacity and selectivity, combined with low backpressure and short operation times. Due to the inherent speed of the isolation it facilitates the recovery of a biologically active product, since the exposure to putative denaturing influences.

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CIM® supports are novel monolithic chromatographic supports. In contrast to conventional particle based chromatographic supports they consist of a single porous polymer. The pores form a highly interconnected network, which enables the flow of the mobile phase through the monolith. Molecules to be separated are transported to the surface by the convection. Since the diffusion is not a bottleneck any more, also the resolution and the dynamic capacity of the monolith are flow independent and an average analysis time is typically below one minute. Furthermore, CIM® columns were successfully applied for the purification of proteins directly from the fermentation broth.

Manganese peroxidases (MnP) and lignin peroxidases (LiP) are a family of glicosilated hemo-proteins, which are excreted into the growth medium during the idiophasic growth of the white rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium. They are both involved in the lignin degradation. For their analysis and separation from the growth medium, HPLC is commonly applied. Besides the separation by Na-acetate concentration gradient (2), also the chromatofocusing can be used (3). A fast method for LiP isoenzyme separation from the growth medium of P. chrysosporium using CIM™ QA disk monolithic columns has been recently developed (1). A modified method was tested on the growth medium containing MnP isoenzymes.

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The aim of our work was to study the direct monitoring and purification of proteins from the fermentation broth using ion-exchange CIM® supports. Therefore, we studied the possibility of monitoring and purifying lignin peroxidase extracelular protein isoforms produced by the fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium. These isoenzymes which also differ in their catalytic properties are able to partially depolymerize lignin and to oxidise several xenobiotics.

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The white rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium under nitrogen or carbon limitation produces extracellular lignin peroxidases (LiP). They are able to partially depolymerize lignin and to oxidize several xenobiotics (DDT, PCB, PAH, etc.). By HPLC separation and isoelectric focusing multiple molecular forms of LiP have been isolated from the culture filtrate. For the isolation of LiP from the growth medium, mostly the HPLC technique with ion exchange Mono-Q or DEAE columns is used. The medium should be dialyzed before separation and usually also concentrated. Medium freezing is used to remove mucilaginous polysaccharides which disturb separation. The whole procedure is time consuming and information about isoenzyme content and their relative amounts in the growth medium is delayed for at least 1 day. HPLC separation itself lasts nearly an hour. For the separation of LiP isoenzymes from the culture filtrate, we used the monolithic stationary phase with weak (DEAE-diethylamine) and strong (QA-quaternary amine) ion exchange groups commercially available under trademark CIM (Convective Interaction Media). CIM supports are glycidyl methacrylate based monolithic porous polymer supports. As such they differ from conventional particle shaped chromatographic supports. The liquid is forced to flow through the support channels. Molecules to be separated are transported mainly by convection resulting in travelling times shorter for at least an order of magnitude. As a consequence the resolution as well as the binding capacity remain unaffected with the flow rate and a shorter analysis time can be achieved. This effect is even more pronounced in the case of large molecules such as proteins, which have a low diffusion coefficient. As such, CIM units can be advantageous also for lignin peroxidase isoenzymes separation and purification.

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Convective Interaction Technology (CIM®) offers a number of benefits for the purification of large molecules in comparison with conventional chromatography. The innovative matrix, cast as a single homogeneous piece, means that monolithic columns have a high pressure tolerance and allow fast operating flow rates.

Because the matrix structure is composed of large pores, mass transfer is essentially convective in contrast to conventional chromatography beads, where mass transfer is essentially diffusive. Therefore, CIM can be used at high flow rates without compromising binding capacity.

For these reasons, a monolithic column with anion exchange properties (CIM® QA) was selected to purify a very large protein (8 Mega Dalton) extracted from a marine mollusc.

Because 150 g of protein was required to perform preclinical trials, a scale-up of the process had to be designed and implemented. Early stage process development was carried out on an 8 mL column to determine the column loading capacity as well as the yield and the process reproducibility.

To improve binding on the column, stabilising agents had to be removed prior to this purification step. The protein had been observed to precipitate within hours of the removal of these reagents. Therefore, a suitable time frame for protein processing had to accommodate this instability.

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