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Adsorptive and DOWNSTREAM

separations of life
science molecules. published by srl
Via Cesare da Sesto, 10
20123 Milano (Italy)

Part II – Process Tel. 0039 02 83241119

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design and scale-up *

he exercise of designing a membrane columns (1). The basic idea
chromatographic separation is provision of low pressure system that ARVIND LALI 1
technology essentially involves at the same time affords large number of SANDEEP KALE 1
three steps: theoretical plates per unit column height. SILVIA NICOTRA 2
– Selection of media and scouting for Maximum allowable pressure drop PAOLO CAIMI 2
best protocol; determines the limiting linear flow MORENO DAMINATI 2
– Optimizing the protocol for purity and velocity through an adsorbent bed. The MATTEO VILLA 3
productivity; and larger this velocity the better is the 1. Chemical Engineering Division
– Scaling up and design of the process adsorbent from a throughput standpoint. Institute of Chemical Technology
and equipment. Soft gel matrices like those based on Matunga, Mumbai, India 400 019
In Part I of this two paper series we agarose, cellulose or dextran permit low aml@udct.org
discussed some basic aspects pertaining to velocities due to their compressible
2. Resindion Srl
adsorbent media properties and their nature and hence scale-up results in Via Roma, 55
bearing on selection for a given application. large diameter short height columns. 20082 Binasco (MI), Italy
Optimizing an operation at marketing@resindion.com
laboratory or semi- Table I – Maximum permissible linear flow velocity
3. Hydro Air Research SpA
preparatory scale involves for various matrices Strada Provinciale 181, 11
optimizing the operation 26833 Merlino (LO), Italy
with respect to flow rate,
pressure drop,
productivity, and
resolution. A high
inter-phase mass transfer
rate is desirable at the
lowest possible pressure
drop. Unfortunately these
two objectives work
against each other. Solute
mass transfer rate from
mobile to stationary phase
is inversely proportional to
square of particle
diameter, and so is the
bed pressure drop. Hence
any attempt to reduce particle size to Rigid adsorbents on the other hand,
improve mass transfer results in increasing permit high velocity and thus higher
pressure drop and reduction of throughput. throughput. Table I gives the comparison
of maximum permissible linear velocities
Process design approach to overcome on different types of resins used in Part I – Selection
the above mentioned catch has evolved preparative scale chromatography. of adsorbent
several solutions like expanded bed Solute mass transfer rate is reflected
Dynamics of adsorption -
adsorption, monolithic columns, super in HETP, lower HETP signifying faster
Thermodynamics and
porous beaded adsorbents and rates of mass transfer. Low HETP bed will
fluid dynamics
not only give sharp breakthrough profiles
and higher dynamic binding capacity, but Sepabeads® media
* Part I – This journal – 2005, October, also result in sharper peaks and Media selection
p. 52-55 increased resolutions. However, as Summary


pointed above, EXPANDED adopts a combination of both approaches
HETP is directly BED since using mere one of the two
related to particle ADSORPTION approaches has been observed to cause
diameter, and also bed instabilities leading to deterioration of
increases with flow Sepabeads® EB bed performance. Figure 3 gives the bed
rate. Figure 1 is a range of expansion characteristics of
typical variation of adsorbents Sepabeads® EB in comparison with other
HETP with linear (Figure 2) have available matrices.
mobile phase been developed in It generally appears that EBA
velocity. It is particle sizes that technology has not achieved the
important to note make them useful potential that was once considered
that an increase in for both packed possible. A number of reasons may be
linear velocity does Figure 1 – Variation of HETP with flow velocity. bed and given. One reason seems to be the lack
not result in For a given CV/hour it is always safe to increase of variety of adsorbents intended for
expanded bed
linear velocity for scale-up and still have
increased HETP to operations. EBA EBA. An EBA adsorbent is given to far
reasonable number of N
the same degree. (Expanded Bed rougher environment than a packed bed
This implies that a column can be Adsorption) is useful when adsorption can adsorbent. Thus a rigid adsorbent may
operated at increased velocity for higher be possible directly from the particulate be preferred. Secondly, it appears that
throughput with lesser corresponding loss matter containing crudes without considerable care needs to be exercised
on number of plates. Hence, an intervening solid-liquid separation steps to ensure stable bed throughout the
important scale-up sequence of operations.
criterion can simply be An expanded bed can
to use higher bed destabilize either due to
height at highest incorrect hydrodynamic
allowable linear flow design of the column,
rate for the adsorbent and/or due to
in use. Naturally, rigid operational
adsorbents thus can discontinuities. In
be used with higher collaboration with
bed heights giving Hydro Air Research and
required number of Resindion, we have
plates at higher been into development
throughput in column of a column design with
diameters lesser than associated
those required for soft instrumentation that not
gel adsorbents. Figure 2 – Adsorbent range from some of the manufacturers. only provides steady
Both column Sepabeads® (Resindion); Toyopearl (Tosoh Bioscience); EMD (Merck): Acrylic state bed stability, but
performance polymers; Sepharose (GE Healthcare): Crosslinked agarose; Streamline also ensures stability
parameters HETP and (GE Healthcare): Agarose coated on quartz (for expanded bed) against ‘disturbances’
dynamic binding [From Part I] arising from switching
capacity are seriously feeds into the column
affected on scale-up unless proper like centrifugation and/or membrane and those arising from variation in feed
guidelines are followed. As mentioned in filtrations besides permitting high flow properties and flow rates.
Part I, HETP is a strong function of pore rates without the problem of back pressure The evolved EBA equipment design
diffusion. Small molecules like antibiotics (2,3). An adsorbent intended to be used and adsorbents has enabled us to
diffuse at high rate even in adsorbent pores in expanded bed format needs to meet develop cost effective single step
compared to diffusion rates of some additional criteria in addition to purification strategies for low price bulk
macromolecules like proteins and DNA. those required for traditional preparative products like penicillin G and rifamycin
Thus scale-up for adsorption of small scale adsorbent matrices. Besides being directly from their respective
molecules, e.g. antibiotics, can be based on hydrophilic and rigid, adsorbents for EBA fermentation broths.
mean residence time in terms of column should be heavier
volumes per hour. On the other hand, so that the bed not
macromolecules move rather sluggishly only permits high
and have serious effect of linear velocity on flow rates without
HETP, DBC and resolution. Scale-up unduly large bed
procedure for macromolecular expansion, but also
chromatographic separations therefore allows the
follows the dictate of linear velocity suspended matter
similarity. in the feed to flow
Synthetic polymer based through without
Sepabeads® range of adsorbents forms a retention. An EBA
useful platform for developing separation matrix can be made
technologies in the form of rigid and heavier by either
robust adsorbent matrices. Available in employing larger
different particle sizes they are suited to size, or using
scale-up from litre level to thousands of denser matrix, or
litres level. Further, availability in three both. Figure 3 – Bed Expansion with linear superficial mobile phase
mean pore sizes also make them flexible Sepabeads® EB range velocity (distilled water) for Streamline DEAE (Amersham
for a variety of products from small of adsorbents Biosciences), Sepabeads® EB-DA2 and Sepabeads® EB-DA3
molecules to large proteins. designed for EBA (Resindion Srl)


Table II – HARSep Pilot Plant Unit Specifications with level operations. requirements. Figure 5 presents a picture of
HEBA G225 or S225 column Table II presents the peak profile that may be obtained using
details of a a non-binding tracer molecule. The method
standard pilot basically comprises injecting a finite pulse
scale expanded of a non-binding tracer into the mobile
bed set up that phase (normally the equilibrating buffer)
also serves well and recording the peak profile. Analysis of
for any packed peak profile can yield the following useful
bed operation in validating parameters (1,4):
both up flow – Mean Residence time (or peak time)
and down flow – Dimensionless Variance
modes. – HETP
Figure 4 is the – Peak skew ness
schematic flow – Peak asymmetry
diagram of the – Tailing factor
set up. Major Table III gives the formulae that can
issues with yield these parameters. A similar analysis
scaled-up of the product peak emerging from the
columns relate column in production cycle can also be
to their used as validating parameter. In addition,
hydrodynamic the Resolution parameter Rs (also given
performance in Table III) also quantifies the column
with respect to performance. Any variation in these
DESIGN AND SCALE-UP – Uniformity of packing density; parameters between runs can be
OF PACKED BED – Flow distribution (especially in large regarded as a matter of concern and
AND EXPANDED BED ADSORPTION diameter columns); and result of faulty column performance. A
– Deterioration of packing over time. faulty column performance should lead
Ironically, scale-up of expanded bed is There are several testing procedures for to aborting the run and emptying,
more constrained compared to packed estimating these parameters recommended cleaning and repacking the column.
bed on account of bed expansion and by column or media manufacturers. The It is essential that a column when
linear velocity limitations. Within this final choice rests with the user and it is packed and operated gives a performance
constraint, tall columns for small useful to lay down SOPs for determination that is consistent over a large number of
molecules and large diameter short of the above three aspects. Two simple and repeated cycles. There can be occasional
columns for macromolecules are very useful methodologies are deterioration of the column performance
accepted practice in plant scale – Devising non-binding tracer method to which is unacceptable from regulatory
operations for both packed and check column performance in between point of view. There is therefore a need to
expanded bed operation. Flat flow runs; and adopt procedures that quantify column
distribution of liquid or crude entering – Devising an in built performance performance from time to time not only
the column bed is a very essential evaluation method that quantifies each in terms of production related figures but
requirement for good column successive runs made on the column. also through the diagnostic parameters.
performance. In addition, uniformity of Both these can be built into the system The performance parameters listed in
packing throughout the bed diameter data logs to comply with regulatory Table III are a good measure of column
and height is also necessary for fault
free operation. Rigid adsorbent matrices
again are useful in the respect that they
permit packing procedures that are easy
to perform and reproduce without
damage to the adsorbent. A number of
column designs are on the market from
different companies some of which also
have presence in the adsorbent market.
Considerable work at our Institute, and
then in collaboration with Resindion Srl
and Hydro Air Research SpA, has lead
us to design column hardware for both
packed bed and expanded bed format
of adsorption chromatography. Packed
bed and expanded bed purification
technologies have been developed for
molecules from penicillin G, rifamycin,
vitamin B12, and β-carotene to proteins
like lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase,
lysozyme, bromelain, insulin etc. Hydro
Air Research offers laboratory scale to
plant scale column chromatography
setups complete with column, pumps,
piping system and measurement and
controls. These ready to use set ups Figure 4 – Schematic Flow Diagram of the HARSep-HEBA G225 Pilot Scale Expanded / Packed
have been helpful in developing the Bed plant. Several on-off valves control the direction of the flow upward or downward through
technologies and scaling them for plant the column and to different outlets


Table III – Parameters for chromatographic Typically, a 300 µm mean quantify column performances between
peak analysis particle size is considered and during the runs. Distributor designs
good for scale-up and can and operation protocols with respect to
give up to 500 plates/m stream switching and changes in flow
bed. Again, as mentioned rate need special attention to details.
earlier larger bed depths Chromatographic assembly hardware
required for such thus should not only be designed well,
adsorbents necessitate but must also be supported by
that the adsorbent matrix adequate software to operate, control
is stable under its own and quantify its performance both
weight. Soft gel matrices during a run and in between runs.
can cause more
compared to rigid
beads like


Scale-up and
design of plant
scale column
can follow different
Figure 5 – Peak profile obtained using a non-binding
guidelines for
tracer molecule (or during product elution)
small molecule
adsorption and
macromolecular REFERENCES
adsorption is far more M.A., ROOT T.W. “Interaction of Mass
diffusion limited than Transfer and Fluid Mechanics” in Scale-up
and Optimization in Preparative
small molecules, and
Chromatography; Rathore A.S., Velayudhan
hence while small A. Eds.; Chromatographic Science Series,
molecule Marcel Dekker, 2003
chromatography can be 2) CHASE H.A. “Purification of Proteins by
scaled up using simpler Adsorption Chromatography in Expanded
mean residence time Beds” Trends Biotechnol. 1994, 12,
criterion, macromolecule 296-303
behaviour during operation as well, and chromatography required more careful 3) LALI A.M. “Expanded Bed Affinity
can be used in analyzing product peak scale up. Larger the product molecule Chromatography” in Methods for Affinity
(e.g. pDNA) larger is the effect of fluid based Separations of Enzymes and
Proteins; Gupta M.N. Ed.; Birkhauser Verlag:
In large columns use of small particle dynamics on binding capacity and peak
Basel, 2002
size adsorbent is more likely to result in resolutions. 4) RATHORE, A.S., KENNEDY R.M., O’DONNELL
variation of performance between Production scale packed and J.K., BEMBERIS I., KALTENBRUNNER O.,
subsequent packing. Hence, larger particle expanded bed adsorption columns “Quantification of a Chromatographic Column,
size may be preferred even at the expense need specific attention to design details Why and How to Do It” Biopharm
of the lower efficiency in terms of HETP. and use of methods to check and International 2003, March 30