Adsorption of recombinant human erythropoietin and protein impurities on a multimodal chromatography membrane

  • Tomáš Kurák
  • Tomáš Molnár
  • Milan PolakovičEmail author
Original Paper


Multimodal chromatography adsorbents are novel materials with promising properties for downstream processing of therapeutic glycoproteins. This work analyzes the properties of a salt-tolerant membrane, Sartobind STIC, for the purification of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) produced by human embryonic kidney cells. Batch adsorption experiments were carried out to determine equilibrium properties of the membrane as a function of pH and NaCl concentration. It was found that the membrane adsorbs strongly both rhEPO and impurity proteins but the selectivity of binding is low independent of process conditions. Since the membrane demonstrated strong salt tolerance, flow experiments were designed to elucidate the effect of elution conditions on the bound proteins desorption. These experiments have revealed irreversible character of protein adsorption on the multimodal adsorbent probably caused by protein unfolding on the hydrophobic groups of the adsorbent. The recovery degree was especially low in case of rhEPO with the maximum at about 45% even when solutions of kosmotropic agents were used as desorbents.


Recombinant human erythropoietin Multimodal chromatography Membrane chromatography Sartobind STIC Hydrophobic interaction Ion exchange Irreversible adsorption 



This work was supported by the Grants from the Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic for Structural Funds of EU (Grant number: ITMS 26240220071), the Slovak Research and Development Agency (Grant number: APVV-14-0474), and the Slovak Grant Agency for Science (Grant number: VEGA 1/0573/17). Dr. Mária Bartošová from the Institute of Virology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences is kindly acknowledged for providing the supernatant of the HEK cultivation medium.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Chemical and Food TechnologySlovak University of TechnologyBratislavaSlovakia

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