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Chromatography is a separation technique that allows researchers and biomanufacturers to isolate and purify target biomolecules from complex mixtures for quantitative or qualitative analysis. Target biomolecules might include proteins such as monoclonal antibodies or Fab antibody fragments, mRNA, plasmids, or viruses such as adeno-associated virus (AAV). During liquid chromatography separation, a mixture passes over or through a stationary phase such as a chromatography resin packed in a column. The type of resin or prepacked column used is designed to capture certain molecules on the basis of properties such as size, binding activity, or hydrophobicity. Commonly used chromatography methods include affinity chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, and size exclusion chromatography.
What types of chromatography equipment are used in different types of separations?
Chromatography equipment and systems vary widely in size and purpose: systems may be designed for small research labs, for mid-phase clinical manufacturing, or for large-scale manufacturing. Many can be used for more than one mode of chromatography by switching out the type of resin or prepacked column. Chromatography systems can be very complex but will often include some configuration of inlet valves, pumps, and tubing to move the sample through the system, sensors that measure pH, conductivity, temperature, or optical density of the sample before or after it passes through the stationary phase, a column or other unit that holds the stationary phase, and tubing and outlets for the eluent. A power source, computer interface and software are used to program or start a chromatography run, set reaction parameters, and view system status and run data. ÄKTA™ chromatography instruments from Cytiva run on UNICORN™ software, which offers a common control platform and intuitive user interface for different operational scales, as well as robust technical and service support.
Chromatography equipment FAQs
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about chromatography equipment.
What are the main applications of chromatography equipment?
The two broad categories of chromatography applications are preparative chromatography, such as for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, and analytical chromatography. Analytical chromatography aims to separate components of a sample, while preparative chromatography helps isolate and purify a substantial quantity of target molecules from the sample for further downstream processing. Analytical techniques focus on biomolecule analysis and collecting data on the properties of target molecules. Recovering molecules of interest in the purest form possible is crucial for preparative chromatography.
What are some examples of chromatography equipment and accessories?
Here are the key components of a chromatography system:
- Pumps - Pumps move mobile phases into the chromatography system. These pumps use rotors to pinch tubing and create a vacuum.
- Injectors - Injectors allow you to add the sample and act as controllers.
- Chromatography columns - Columns hold the stationary phase or resin.
- Fraction collectors - A fraction collector collects separated samples, or fractions, from the column.
- Chromatography valves - These components control flow paths and act as switches.
- Chromatography monitors - Chromatography monitors and sensors help you track the physico-chemical parameters of buffers and samples such as optical density, pH, conductivity, and temperature.
- Chromatography tubing - Tubing connects the different components of a chromatography system.
- Chromatography fittings - These connect columns, tubing, and other components in chromatographic systems.
What chromatography equipment is available from Cytiva?
We offer detectors, fraction collectors, chromatography columns, chromatography tubing, chromatography cables, pumps, fraction collectors, monitors, resin handling tools, sample loops, and more. For help finding the right equipment for your needs, use our Purify web app or contact us.