Separation Techniques Based on the Opposition of Two Counteracting Forces to Produce a Dynamic Equilibrium

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Science  29 Mar 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4694, pp. 1586-1589
DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4694.1586


Useful compounds, whether produced by chemical synthesis or biological synthesis, often need to be purified from complex mixtures. Biochemists and chemists thus recognize the need for efficient new preparative purification techniques for product recovery. Such fractionation techniques must have high capacity and high resolution. In a novel group of separation methods suited to the preparative fractionation of proteins, antibiotics, and other classes of compounds, the chromatographic flow of a solute down the column is opposed by solute electrophoresis in the opposite direction. Useful separation is achieved when these two counteracting forces drive the solute to a unique equilibrium position within the separation chamber. The properties of chromatographic matrices, for example, gel-permeation matrices of various porosities, provide a means of establishing the unique equilibrium points. Extraordinary resolution and capacity are attainable by these methods.