Phenolics removal from transgenic Lemna minor extracts expressing mAb and impact on mAb production cost



Transgenic Lemna minor has been used successfully to produce several biotherapeutic proteins. For plant-produced mAbs specifically, the cost of protein A capture step is critical as the economic benefits of plant production systems could be erased if the downstream processing ends up being expensive. To avoid potential modification of mAb or fouling of expensive protein A resins, a rapid and efficient removal of phenolics from plant extracts is desirable. We identified major phenolics in Lemna extracts and evaluated their removal by adsorption to PVPP, XAD-4, IRA-402, and Q-Sepharose. Forms of apigenin, ferulic acid, and vitexin comprised ∼75% of the total phenolics. Screening of the resins with pure ferulic acid and vitexin indicated that PVPP would not be efficient for phenolics removal. Analysis of the breakthrough fractions of phenolics adsorption to XAD-4, IRA-402, and Q-Sepharose showed differences in adsorption with pH and in the type of phenolics adsorbed. Superior dynamic binding capacities (DBC) were observed at pH 4.5 than at 7.5. To evaluate the cost impact of a phenolics removal step before protein A chromatography, a mAb purification process was simulated using SuperPro Designer 7.0. The economic analysis indicated that addition of a phenolics adsorption step would increase mAb production cost only 20% by using IRA-402 compared to 35% for XAD-4 resin. The cost of the adsorption step is offset by increasing the lifespan of protein A resin and a reduction of overall mAb production cost could be achieved by using a phenolics removal step. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011