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Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering

Print version ISSN 0104-6632On-line version ISSN 1678-4383


SILVA, M. E.  and  FRANCO, T. T.. Liquid-liquid extraction of biomolecules in downstream processing - A review paper. Braz. J. Chem. Eng. [online]. 2000, vol.17, n.1, pp.1-17. ISSN 1678-4383.

Economic analysis shows that protein separation and purification are a very important aspect of biomolecules production and processing. This is particularly true for protein processing which, because of the complexity of the starting material, often requires many steps to reach the levels of purity required for medical and food applications. The separation specialists' task is to develop safe and simple processes to achieve products with a high level of purity. On a large scale, chromatography of proteins is not an easily applied method, although on a laboratory scale it is very effective and relatively simple. When it is scaled up, shortcomings such as discontinuity in the process, slow protein diffusion and large pressure drops in the system are seen. For these reasons a substantial research effort has been directed toward the use of aqueous two-phase systems (ATPSs) to replace the initial steps in protein purification and chromatography. This article reviews the chronology and main ATPS fundamentals and discuss the broader applications of this type of system in the extraction and separation of biomolecules.

Keywords : aqueous two-phase systems; downstream processing; protein purification; liquid-liquid extraction.

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