Although protein fractionation by selective membrane filtration has numerous potential applications in both the downstream processing of fermentation broths and the purification of plasma proteins, the selectivity for proteins with only moderately different molecular weights has generally been quite poor. We have obtained experimental data for the transport of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and immunoglobulins (IgG) through 100,000 and 300,000 molecular weight cutoff polyethersulfone membranes in a stirred ultrafiltration device at different solution pH and ionic strength. The selectivity was a complex function of the flux due to the simultaneous convective and diffusive solute transport through the membrane and the bulk mass transfer limitations in the stirred cell. Under phsioligical conditions (pH 7.0 and 0.15 M NaCI) the maximum selectivity for the BSA‐IgG separation was only about 2.0 due primarily to the effects of protein adsorption. In contrast, BSA‐IgG selectivities as high as 50 were obtained with the same membranes when the protein solution was at pH 4.8 and 0.0015 M NaCl. This enhanced selectivity was a direct result of the electrosatatic contributions to both bulk and membrane transport. The membrane selectivity could actually be reversed, with higher passage of the larger IgG molecules, by using a 300,000 molecular weight cutoff membrane at pH 7.4 and an ionic strength of 0.0015 M NaCl. These results clearly demonstrate that the effectiveness of selective protein filtration can be dramatically altered by appropriately controlling electrostatic interactions through changes in pH and/or ionic strength. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology