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Chromatography

Chromatography isolates biomolecules such as proteins, DNA, mRNa, or viruses from mixtures. Chromatographic separation techniques are used in many applications in life science research and clinical and industrial manufacturing. The instruments used for chromatography vary widely, but most liquid chromatography systems rely on tubing to carry samples, buffers, and waste through the process.

Chromatography instruments

Though standard equipment of chromatography systems may differ, most liquid chromatography systems include a column, reagent injector, pump, detector, and fraction collector. Chromatography tubes transport samples and buffer among the various components, while connectors ensure secure attachment. When selecting tubing, refer to your chromatography system instructions to make sure you choose tubing with suitable inner and outer diameter, flow rate, and material.

Chromatography tubing FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about chromatography tubing.

What is chromatography tubing?

Chromatography tubing connects components like inlets, pumps, injectors, columns, reagents, and outlets in a chromatography system.

What is it made of?

Chromatography fittings and tubing come in different materials. Common materials used are:

  • Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) tubing: This member of the polyaryletherketone family of polymers has high thread strength and is resistant against most chemicals and solvents.
  • Fluoropolymers: Commonly used fluorpolymers are polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), and perfluoroalkoxy (PFA). Cytiva offers fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) tubing, which has a smooth, non-stick surface and a wide operating temperature range.

How do you choose chromatography tubing?

To choose the right type of tubing for your system, be sure to match your material type, outer diameter, and inner diameter to the process you intend to carry out for safety and efficiency. Chromatography tubing types can have differences that are indiscernible to the naked eye. However, tubing lengths often come with color-coded tag labels based on the internal diameter.

Other considerations to make before selecting chromatography tubes include operating pressure and temperature. For high-pressure areas of your system, consider our range of PEEK chromatography tubes. In parts that have high protein concentrations within the system like inject, outlet, and buffer lines, use PTFE tubes.

What is PEEK tubing?

PEEK tubing refers to tubing that comes made from polyetheretherketone materials. Because of a swelling effect, solvents such as methylene chloride and DMSO are not typically recommended for use with PEEK chromatography tubes.

How do I know which tubing types are compatible with my application and system?

To select the right tubing for your ÄKTA™ chromatography system, use our Purify web app.