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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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1998

White rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium produces under nitrogen limitation extracellular lignin peroxidases (LiP). They are able to partially depolymerize lignin and to oxidise several xenobiotics (DDT, PCB, PAH,…) and synthetic dyes. Trough HPLC separation and isoelectric focusing multiple molecular forms of LiP have been determined and isolated from the culture filtrate. Depending on growth conditions, separation technique, strain employed and culture age 2-15 different LiP izoenzymes were observed in culture media of Phanerochaete chrysosporium. They are structurally similar but differ in stability, quantity and in catalytic properties. For the isolation of LiP from growth medium, mostly the procedure employing HPLC ionexchange columns as shown on Scheme 1 is used. For the separation of LiP isoenzymes from the culture filtrate, we used CIM (Convective Interaction Media) units. Their advantage is very fast separation of macromolecules due to their particular threedimensional structure. In contrast to particle supports containing closed pores, CIM units consist of monolith porous material containing flow through pores. Therefore, macromolecules to be separated are transported to the active site by convection rather than by diffusion. As a consequence, the separation resolution and dynamic binding capacity are flow independent. As such CIM units can be advantageous also for lignin peroxidase isoenzymes separation and purification.

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