In-lot consistency is the key to reproducibility at the level of a kit. Unfortunately, in non-homogenous systems irreversible aggregation is one of the main sources of in-lot variability. If all of the beads are exposed to the same force as they are in homogenous magnetic systems, the risk of aggregation is greatly reduced. Because of this, it is important to know how to avoid irreversible aggregation problems during a magnetic separation process.
A recognized problem in the biomagnetic separation industry is that when one increases the batch size to scale up production of magnetic beads, the magnetic separation process time increases unproportionally to the increase in volume if one is working with standard magnetic separation devices.
When using biomagnetic separation, in order to ensure the consistency of the resulting product and the process itself, there must be some sort of validation procedure. Validation should be consistent within a given lot, from lot to lot and also when the process is scaled up. The validation procedure should optimally be related to the conditions of magnetic bead separation and not be dependent on any specific device that generates the magnetic field.
One of the biggest problems of producing magnetic beads when scaling up the production is that compared with smaller lot production, larger lot production seems to result in a much larger disproportionate loss of beads. This seems to happen even when the beads are produced in conditions that are similar to the small lot production in a magnetic separation process. The assumption is that when you scale up a process, you will have greater efficiency, but this does not happen when scaling up production of magnetic beads using classical separators.
It is understandably important to end users that every kit within a particular lot have the same properties. In other words, when one is producing lots of material to be used in an IVD kit, one necessarily strives for maximum reproducibility and minimal variability. With standard magnetic separators, it is very difficult to achieve this goal in a magnetic separation process.
Because biomagnetic separation techniques are relatively simple, life science laboratories and industries are quite enamored with them. Indeed, using only magnetic beads and magnetic fields, biomolecules can be captured and extracted from complex media in magnetic bead separation. However, if this application is to be considered practical, it should also be faster than other separation technologies such as chromatography, electrophoresis or centrifugation.
What are the problems of the classic magnetic separation process? Typically the classic ways to produce magnetic bead reagents and kits are slow, very high maintenance and costly to run. The three classic techniques, centrifugation, filtration and tangential filtration, are not straightforward techniques.
Last March 4th, Mr. Jordi Andreu Segura defended his paper “Statistical Mechanics of Superparamagnetic Colloidal Dispersions Under Magnetic Fields”, which was submitted to obtain a PhD degree in Materials Science at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.