Biotechnological downstream processing is usually an elaborate procedure, requiring a multitude of unit operations to isolate the target component. Besides the disadvantageous space-time yield, the risks of cross-contaminations and product loss grow fast with the complexity of the isolation procedure. A significant reduction of unit operations can be achieved by application of magnetic particles, especially if these are functionalized with affinity ligands. As magnetic susceptible materials are highly uncommon in biotechnological processes, target binding and selective separation of such particles from fermentation or reactions broths can be done in a single step. Since the magnetizable particles can be produced from iron salts and low priced polymers, a single-use implementation of these systems is highly conceivable. In this article, the principles of magnetizable particles, their synthesis and functionalization are explained. Furthermore, applications in the area of reaction engineering, microfluidics and downstream processing are discussed focusing on established single-use technologies and development potential.