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Why are there More Magnetic Bead Irreversible Aggregation Problems in Non-Homogeneous Magnetic Separators?

When companies desire to increase the volume and scale up their production using a non-homogeneous magnetic separation rack, they use higher magnetic forces in order to separate the magnetic beads. As a result, the forces experienced by the beads nearest the magnet are extremely high. In addition, the time of separation also needs to be increased substantially when the volume is increased in order to collect an acceptable percentage of beads in a non-homogeneous system.

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This post is about Magnetic Bead Separation with a magnetic separation rack, and how to scale-up this process. If you are interested in this topic, download our free eBook The Basic Guide to Scale-up Magnetic Bead Separation Processes:

Working with a larger magnetic separation rack

It is known that the larger the magnet that is used in the system, the longer the separation time required to achieve the same or similar bead yield as in smaller production sizes.

magnetic separation rack force at furthest beads

Longer separation times combined with exposure to very high magnetic forces during that time results in an increase in the formation of irreversibly aggregated bead clumps. This problem decreases yield and forces the use of extraordinary resuspension methods such as sonication.

Sonication method in order to resuspend these clumps adds steps to the separation process which results in a longer time to produce the lot, larger investment of time and money into the process, a longer time to develop the process and more resources necessary in order to validate the process.

You can try to avoid these problems by using a force that is low enough such that you will not be exposing beads to such a high magnetic force over time, but this cannot be done with non-homogeneous magnetic separation rack without greatly increasing magnetic bead losses or without using exponentially longer separation times.

Advantages of homogeneous separation systems

Using homogeneous separation systems, however, you can both decrease the force and decrease the separation time. The separation time in these systems will be proportional to the diameter of the vessel.  Due to the mild force and short separation times irreversible aggregation problems are avoided when using homogenous Magnetic Bead Separation systems.

Don’t forget to check these posts from our blog in order to get a deeper insight into the scaling-up of Magnetic Bead Separation processes:

Check to access to FREE eBooks on the subject, or contact us. We will be glad to help you to achieve an efficient magnetic bead separation process!

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Lluis M. Martínez | SEPMAG Chief Scientific Officer

Founder of SEPMAG, Lluis holds a PhD in Magnetic Materials by the UAB. He has conducted research at German and Spanish academic institutions. Having worked in companies in Ireland, USA and Spain, he has more than 20 years of experience applying magnetic materials and sensors to industrial products and processes. He has filed several international patents on the field and co-authored more than 20 scientific papers, most of them on the subject of magnetic particle movement.

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