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Comparison of tobacco host cell protein removal methods by blanching intact plants or by heat treatment of extracts

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


Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. Online resource 2016 (2016), Nr.114
ISSN: 1940-087X
Fraunhofer IME ()

Plants not only provide food, feed and raw materials for humans, but have also been developed as an economical production system for biopharmaceutical proteins, such as antibodies, vaccine candidates and enzymes. These must be purified from the plant biomass but chromatography steps are hindered by the high concentrations of host cell proteins (HCPs) in plant extracts. However, most HCPs irreversibly aggregate at temperatures above 60 °C facilitating subsequent purification of the target protein. Here, three methods are presented to achieve the heat precipitation of tobacco HCPs in either intact leaves or extracts. The blanching of intact leaves can easily be incorporated into existing processes but may have a negative impact on subsequent filtration steps. The opposite is true for heat precipitation of leaf extracts in a stirred vessel, which can improve the performance of downstream operations albeit with major changes in process equipment design, such as homogenizer geometry. Finally, a heat exchanger setup is well characterized in terms of heat transfer conditions and easy to scale, but cleaning can be difficult and there may be a negative impact on filter capacity. The design-of-experiments approach can be used to identify the most relevant process parameters affecting HCP removal and product recovery. This facilitates the application of each method in other expression platforms and the identification of the most suitable method for a given purification strategy.