Biomolecule Recovery

Novamem membranes are able to filter off single molecule from a solution, thanks to the very small pore sizes. In most synthesis steps, the synthesized molecule ends up in a solvent mixture. To finally retrieve the product molecule, a lot of tedious steps have to be carried out. Our Novamem membranes can simplify such recovery processes significantly. The small pore sizes can separate different sized molecules, for example monomers from dimers, with a simple physical nanofiltration. The filtration of molecule solutions is possible almost any environment. Our PEEK membrane, for example, is able to withstand high temperature and harsh chemicals, while providing a particle cutoff of less than 5nm.

Membrane filtration

Biomolecules can be retrieved in two different membrane filtration methods. The standard method utilized the chemical interaction between the molecule and the membrane polymer. With increased interaction, the membrane is able to adsorb more proteins on its pore surface. In this process, the adsorption sensitivity can be increased by smaller pore sizes, as the surface increases. This is especially important for low amounts and small molecules. The pores of the membrane in this method has to be larger than the molecules, since they have adsorb the pore wall. Once the capacity is reached, the molecules don’t bind to the polymer no more and additional molecules are lost. In a final step, the molecules are resolved in a specific solvent, e.g. DMSO. For this application, we offer our PVDF membranes, as they have very good protein binding capacities.

The second process is a simple physical filtration. In such a separation process the molecule will be in a simple filter cake on top of the membrane. The filter cake can consequently be easily resuspended and directly reused. The main drawback of this recovery method is the unselectivity, every molecule that is larger than the pore, will be in the filter cake. On the other hand, with this method, it is nearly irrelevant what the chemical properties of the target molecule is, as the recovery is solely based on the molecule size. For this application, we propose our PEEK membranes, as they have little chemical interactions which could lead to unwanted adsorption.

Fermentation processes

In fermentation processes, the fermentation product, the feedstock and the fermenting organisms have to be separated. Novamem produces different materials for biological membrane filtration. Well known, is the PES membrane for the filtration of fermentation processes like beer brewing. However, standard membranes are only suitable for batch processes. When it comes to continuous processes and repeated use of filtration membranes, the standard membranes are not feasible. Novamem offers PEEK membranes for such applications. PEEK is biologically inert which hinders the formation of biofilms drastically. Such biofilms, would cover and eventually lock up the membranes after little time. Our PEEK membrane on the other hand can reduce the growth of biofilms and perform much longer. Additionally, there are other supplementing benefits of PEEK in comparison to PTFE:
1. PEEK can be sterilized by X-ray, to reduce potential biological contamination.
2. PEEK is not specifically hydrophobic, making it a feasible solution water based processes.
3. PEEK is stable, even under significant pressure, allowing better flow rates at increased pressure.

If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact us!