An article by Sepmag founder and CSO, Dr. Lluis M. Martinez, appears online this week in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. The article addresses issues that arise during a biomagnetic separation application and offers critical suggestions for approaching a process. Of particular importance is an understanding of the inherent parameters of a separation.
As it is explained in the article, the conditions of a process often remain uncharacterized. In the case of a standard magnetic separation rack, for instance, determining a single value for the magnetic force can present a problem, as the applied magnetic field is not constant. Thus, the magnetic moment of a bead depends on its position relative to the retention area. When this occurs, a process often becomes defined by the time it takes for a successful separation. However, separation time is not a defining condition. A change in the framework of the process, i.e., sample volume, vessel dimensions, or separator device, will affect the separation time required for a successful process. Simply adjusting the separation time, without taking the inherent parameters into account, can lead to problems such as irreversible bead aggregation or incomplete separation.
The ability to reliably define a process requires the application of homogenous conditions. Homogenous conditions can be retained when changes in the sample volume or separator device occur, scaling up or down in proportion to such changes, because the magnetic field is constant. The magnetic moment of the beads is therefore consistent, regardless of a bead’s position. Understanding the parameters can thus increase the efficiency of a process, minimizing loss and facilitating scalability. It’s important to note that these issues are not unique to large volume producers. An initial understanding of the separation process can maximize product performance for R&D and small volume labs.
The article by Dr. Martinez, titled “Better Magnetic Bead Separation: Understanding the process and anticipating the problems can help ensure successful separations,” can be accessed online via the “Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News” website.
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