Mixed Matrix Membrane Chromatography for Bovine Whey Protein Fractionation
Thesis DisciplineChemical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Whey protein fractionation is an important industrial process that requires effective large-scale processes. Although packed bed chromatography has been used extensively, it suffers from low processing rates due to high back-pressures generated at high flow rates. Batch chromatography has been applied but generally has a low efficiency. More recently, adsorptive membranes have shown great promise for large-scale protein purification, particularly from large-volume dilute feedstocks. A new method for producing versatile adsorptive membranes by combining membrane and chromatographic resin matrices has been developed but not previously applied to whey protein fractionation. In this work, a series of mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) were developed for membrane chromatography using ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVAL) based membranes and various types of adsorbent resin. The feasibility of MMM was tested in bovine whey protein fractionation processes.
Flat sheet anion exchange MMMs were cast using EVAL and crushed Lewatit® MP500 (Lanxess, Leverkusen, Germany) anion resin, expected to bind the acidic whey proteins β-lactoglobulin (β-Lac), α-lactalbumin (α-Lac) and bovine serum albumin (BSA). The MMM showed a static binding capacity of 120 mg β-Lac g⁻¹ membrane (36 mg β-Lac mL⁻¹ membrane) and 90 mg α-Lac g⁻¹ membrane (27 mg α-Lac mL⁻¹ membrane). It had a selective binding towards β-Lac in whey with a binding preference order of β-Lac > BSA > α-Lac. In batch whey fractionation, average binding capacities of 75.6 mg β-Lac g⁻¹ membrane, 3.5 mg α-Lac g⁻¹ membrane and 0.5 mg BSA g⁻¹ membrane were achieved with a β-Lac elution recovery of around 80%.
Crushed SP Sepharose™ Fast Flow (GE Healthcare Technologies, Uppsala, Sweden) resin was used as an adsorbent particle in preparing cation exchange MMMs for lactoferrin (LF) recovery from whey. The static binding capacity of the cationic MMM was 384 mg LF g⁻¹membrane or 155 mg LF mL⁻¹ membrane, exceeding the capacity of several commercial adsorptive membranes. Adsorption of lysozyme onto the embedded ion exchange resin was visualized by confocal laser scanning microscopy. In LF isolation from whey, cross-flow operation was used to minimize membrane fouling and to enhance the protein binding capacity. LF recovery as high as of 91% with a high purity (as judged by the presence of a single band in gel electrophoresis) was achieved from 150 mL feed whey.
The MMM preparation concept was extended, for the first time, to produce a hydrophobic interaction membrane using crushed Phenyl Sepharose™ (GE Healthcare Technologies, Uppsala, Sweden) resin and tested for the feasibility in whey protein fractionation. Phenyl Sepharose MMM showed binding capacities of 20.54 mg mL⁻¹ of β-Lac, 45.58 mg mL⁻¹ of α-Lac, 38.65 mg mL⁻¹ of BSA and 42.05 mg mL⁻¹ of LF for a pure protein solution (binding capacity values given on a membrane volume basis). In flow through whey fractionation, the adsorption performance of the Phenyl Sepharose MMM was similar to the HiTrap™ Phenyl hydrophobic interaction chromatography column. However, in terms of processing speed and low pressure drop across the column, the benefits of using MMM over a packed bed column were clear.
A novel mixed mode interaction membrane was synthesized in a single membrane by incorporating a certain ratio of SP Sepharose cation resin and Lewatit MP500 anion resin into an EVAL base polymer solution. The mixed mode cation and anion membrane chromatography developed was able to bind basic and acidic proteins simultaneously from a solution. Furthermore, the ratio of the different types of adsorptive resin incorporated into the membrane matrix could be customised for protein recovery from a specific feedstream. The customized mixed mode MMM consisting of 42.5 wt% of MP500 anionic resin and 7.5 wt% SP Sepharose cationic resin showed a binding capacity of 7.16 mg α-Lac g⁻¹ membrane, 11.40 mg LF g⁻¹ membrane, 59.21 mg β-Lac g⁻¹ membrane and 6.79 mg IgG g⁻¹ membrane from batch fractionation of 1 mL LF-spiked whey. A tangential flow process using this membrane was predicted to be able to produce 125 g total whey protein per L membrane per h.