Membrane separations in biotechnology

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2001 Apr;12(2):208-11. doi: 10.1016/s0958-1669(00)00201-9.


Membranes have always been an integral part of biotechnology processes. The sterile filtration of fermentation media, purification buffers, and protein product pools is standard practice in industry. Microfiltration is also used extensively for medium exchange and harvest. Ultrafiltration can be found in virtually every biotechnology process. A significant number of mammalian cell processes use filtration as an integral part of the overall strategy for viral clearance. Depth filters have also seen widespread use for the clarification of both mammalian and bacterial feed streams. Improvements in membrane technology are now focused on high-resolution applications, including improved protein-virus separation, protein purification by high-performance tangential flow filtration and enhanced membrane chromatography. These developments will allow membranes to play an important role in the evolution of the next generation of biotechnology processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Filtration / methods
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Ultrafiltration


  • Membranes, Artificial