A. Štrancar, A. Podgornik, M. Barut, D. Glover
BIOforum International 3/2002
In adsorptive chromatographic modes, the slope of the capacity factor k' (defined as the molar ratio of the separated compound in the stationary phase and the mobile phase) plot versus composition of the mobile phase is very steep. Up to a certain composition of the mobile phase, k' is so high that the protein is bound to the stationary phase and does not move along the column. Reaching a defined point, a small change of the mobile phase composition causes a rapid decrease in k' to a value near zero. At this point, the protein dissolves in the mobile phase and passes through the column practically without any retention. In other words, the protein remains adsorbed at the top of the column until the eluting power of the mobile phase reaches the point at which a small change in the composition of the mobile phase causes the movement of the protein without any retention. One can also speak about selective elution of the compound. As a result of this process, even very short columns can provide very good separations and recovery, while longer columns might cause problems due to unspecific binding, product degradation and minor changes in the structure of the protein which increase with the length of the column. On the other hand, short-beds are very difficult to pack with particles and form channels which eliminate the resolution power of the column. Monolithic supports offer an ideal solution to avoid most of these problems.