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How to avoid In-lot inconsistency when scaling up Magnetic Bead Separation processes

Any small volume classic magnetic separation rack is relatively cheap and does a fairly good job at separating magnetic beads. However, if the process involves multiple instances of capture and elution steps, irreversible aggregation becomes a real problem. In small volume separations (i.e. on the order of milliliters), using the appropriate techniques can give you excellent re-suspension results.

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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:

Large volume classic magnetic separation racks, however, typically have serious problems with irreversible aggregation. The way to avoid losses in magnetic bead yield is to increase the magnetic force. Since magnetic force in classic separation devices varies with distance, increasing the force causes beads close to the magnet and in the retention zone to experience extremely high forces over a longer period of time.

Consequently, the magnetic beads have a higher probability of being irreversibly aggregated, forming clumps by overcoming the electrostatic barriers that normally keep the beads apart from one another. When the electrostatic barriers are breached, the beads become cross-linked.

This irreversible aggregation and clumping effect in lot consistency is adverse because aliquots for individual kits from the same large volume lot are highly variable. Some beads were exposed only to a low magnetic force and some were exposed to very high forces.

Solutions to common lot inconsistencies

There are two possible ways to deal with these inconsistencies:

  1. You can devote a large amount of resources (money, materials, time, and personnel) toward recovering beads from the aggregates (i.e. using sonication and long sonication/homogenization cycles).
  2. You can use a homogeneous Magnetic Bead Separation system like SEPMAG.

Choosing to change production to an advanced homogeneous magnetic separation system like SEPMAG is easier and cheaper in the long run than choosing to recover already aggregated beads. Beads produced with a homogeneous system and a wisely chosen magnetic force value will produce lots that are consistent throughout the entire volume since the same force is felt by all of the beads. In addition, irreversible aggregation is very rare in these systems. Therefore, SEPMAG systems will both increase in-lot consistency and will treat all beads gently and equally during the separation process.

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!

magnetic separation rack

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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