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Affinity separation methods rely on a “molecular recognition” phenomenon between species. A molecule, known as the ligand, is permanently bounded onto an inert matrix and specifically recognizes the molecule of interest, known as the ligate, that can be separated. The ligand can be a naturally occurring molecule, an engineered macromolecule, or a synthetic molecule linked to the matrix by covalent coupling. The ligand-ligate interaction is selective and reversible, enabling the separation and fine purification of biological substances such as proteins, peptides, and nucleic acids on the basis of its individual chemical structure or biological function (Wilson and Poole 2009).
Among the separation techniques based on the affinity method, affinity chromatography is the most widely used. Due to the limitation associated to the traditional affinity chromatography with porous bead-packed columns (i.e., limited flow rate by pore diffusion), the membrane-based separation...