Protein adsorption and transport in cation exchangers with a rigid backbone matrix with and without polymeric surface extenders



We compare the properties and protein adsorption characteristics of two polymeric cation exchangers: UNOsphere S, which has an open macroporous architecture, and Nuvia S, which is based on a very similar backbone matrix but contains sulfonated polymeric surface extenders. A monoclonal IgG and lysozyme were used as model adsorbates. The characteristic pore sizes, determined by inverse size exclusion chromatography, were about 140 nm for UNOsphere S, and only about 10 nm for Nuvia S, indicating that the polymeric extenders occupy a substantial portion of the base matrix pores. Greater exclusion limits were found for Nuvia S in 1 M NaCl and for a similar matrix containing uncharged surface extenders, suggesting that the polymeric extenders collapse partially at high ionic strength or when they are uncharged. Large equilibrium binding capacities were obtained for Nuvia S, approaching 320 ± 10 mg/mL of particle volume for both proteins in comparison with the UNOsphere S values of 170 ± 10 and 120 ± 10 mg/mL for lysozyme and IgG, respectively. Much higher adsorption rates were also found for Nuvia S, and the rate was nearly independent of protein concentration in solution. Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed very sharp intraparticle protein concentration profiles for UNOsphere S, consistent with a pore diffusion mechanism but diffuse concentration profiles for Nuvia S, consistent with a solid diffusion mechanism. The improved capacity and transport afforded by the polymeric extenders provide substantial potential benefits for bioprocess applications without sacrificing the desirable flow properties of the backbone matrix. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011