Role of the ligand density in cation exchange materials for the purification of proteins

J Chromatogr A. 2010 Apr 9;1217(15):2216-25. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2010.02.002. Epub 2010 Feb 10.


The performance of functionalized materials, such as cation exchange resins, is dependent not only on the ligand type and ligand density, but also on the pore accessibility of the target molecule. In the case of large molecules such as antibodies this latter parameter becomes crucial, because the size of such molecules falls somewhere inside the pore size distribution of the resin. The influence of the ligand density and accessibility on the overall performance of the material is explored systematically. Five different materials, having the same chemistry as the strong cation exchange resin Fractogel EMD SO(3)(-) (M) , have been analyzed. These materials only differ in the ligand density. It is shown that the ligand density directly influences the porosity of the materials as well as the pore diffusivity and the dynamic binding capacity. For a given purification problem an optimal ligand density can be found. Based on the above results a new material is proposed, showing superior properties in terms of dynamic binding capacity. This is achieved by an optimization of the ligand density and by a decrease of the particle size of the stationary phase. The material properties are modeled with a general rate model. Further simulations were conducted to evaluate the performance of the new material in comparison with a conventional resin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Cation Exchange Resins / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Computer Simulation
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin G / isolation & purification
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Particle Size
  • Porosity
  • Proteins / isolation & purification*


  • Cation Exchange Resins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Ligands
  • Proteins