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Protein Separation Using Surface Modified Zirconium Oxide Particles

Technology #95049

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Surface Modification of Zirconium OxideFluidized BedHighly Dense Zirconium Oxide
Peter Carr, PhD
Department of Chemistry, School of Science and Engineering
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Managed By
Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection
US Patent 5,837,826
US Patent 6,036,861
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Protein Separation Term Sheet [PDF]

Protein Separation Using Zirconium Oxide in Expanded Fluidized Beds

Protein separation from eluent can be performed using surface modified zirconium oxide particles in expanded beds. Current technology based on polymeric or composite particles with similar density to the liquids being processed lead to poor adsorption kinetics while porous silica particles, often used in high performance liquid chromatography, do not have the appropriate density for effective use in expanded fluidized beds. The newly developed system based on high density zirconium oxide particles can be used with for target protein adsorption at high eluent flow rates and elevated temperatures, allowing faster separation of the target protein from the eluent.

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** View the Term Sheet **
** Contact Larry Micek for specific details. **

Surface Modification of Zircomium Oxide

The target protein is adsorbed to the modified surface of the zirconia particles; surface modification can be selected based on the target protein. Removal of the target protein is achieved without the need to reverse the flow of the eluent. A wide range of feedstocks containing the target protein can be used including cells or cellular debris such as bacteria, yeast or blood cells. The process can take place at temperatures of 30 ºC, ideally at 50 ºC, which is advantageous for very viscous feedstocks. The particles are stable at lower pH, so can be rigorously sanitized using sodium hydroxide; the surface modification can be reapplied and the system reused.


  • Separation can take place at higher flow rates and higher temperatures than current polymer or silica based systems.
  • Removal of the protein is achieved without the need to reverse the flow.
  • The system can be sanitized using sodium hydroxide and reused.