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How to correctly use small containers on large Magnetic Bead Separation systems

Sometimes during Magnetic Bead Separation in a magnetic separation rack, different steps in the process require using different volumes. For example, if you have produced a ‘mother batch’ of magnetic beads and this large batch needs to be aliquoted so that each aliquot of beads can be uniquely coated, you will need the ability to move easily between volumes.

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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:

Why homogeneous systems are great for varying working volumes

With non-homogeneous Magnetic Bead Separation rack, this flexibility is not practical because magnetic forces change quickly with distance from the magnet. Therefore, beads in each volume used will be subjected to varying magnetic forces, even if the same separation device is used.

magnetic separation rack force varies with distance

With homogeneous Magnetic Bead Separation devices such as the SEPMAG, however, it would not matter what volume vessel is used in the device because magnetic force is constant throughout the entire vessel, regardless of size. Since the force is the same the beads in a large bottle will experience the same force as the beads in a small bottle. What is crucial, however, is using the correct adaptors in order to guarantee consistency between the different volumes.

Validating the process at different steps

Another reason to utilize various volumes during a process is to validate the process at various steps using small aliquots, but the same conditions in homogeneous devices. For example, if there are concerns about irreversible aggregation, smaller volumes can be run using the same conditions as larger volumes, in order to determine how to deal with the situation.  The only difference between the two volumes would be the distance the farthest beads must travel to the retention area.

To be sure clumps are not formed in the retention area, you can experiment with separation times, testing beads in the retention area to see what the maximum separation time can be for your particular production process without irreversible aggregation occurring. If clumps do not form in the retention area during the small scale production, there is no reason to believe that no clumps will form in the larger volumes under homogeneous conditions.

Therefore, making sure the adaptors are properly positioned and utilized, understanding the difference in separation times and optimizing the magnetic force will allow you to use small vessels in larger Magnetic Bead Separation systems effectively.

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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