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Downstream processing of biopharmaceutical proteins produced in plants: The pros and cons of flocculants

: Buyel, J.F.; Fischer, R.


Bioengineered 5 (2014), No.2, pp.138-142
ISSN: 2165-5979
ISSN: 2165-5987
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

All biological platforms for the manufacture of biopharmaceutical proteins produce an initially turbid extract that must be clarified to avoid fouling sensitive media such as chromatography resins. Clarification is more challenging if the feed stream contains large amounts of dispersed particles, because these rapidly clog the filter media typically used to remove suspended solids. Charged polymers (flocculants) can increase the apparent size of the dispersed particles by aggregation, facilitating the separation of solids and liquids, and thus reducing process costs. However, many different factors can affect the behavior of flocculants, including the pH and conductivity of the medium, the size and charge distribution of the particulates, and the charge density and molecular mass of the polymer. Importantly, these properties can also affect the recovery of the target protein and the overall safety profile of the process. We therefore used a design of experiments approach to establish reliable predictive models that characterize the impact of flocculants during the downstream processing of biopharmaceutical proteins. We highlight strategies for the selection of flocculants during process optimization. These strategies will contribute to the quality by design aspects of process development and facilitate the development of safe and efficient downstream processes for plant-derived pharmaceutical proteins.