Biocompatible channels for field-flow fractionation of biological samples: correlation between surface composition and operating performance

Roda, Barbara; Cioffi, Nicola; Ditaranto, Nicoletta; Zattoni, Andrea; Casolari, Sonia; Melucci, Dora; Reschiglian, Pierluigi; Sabbatini, Luigia; Valentini, Antonio; Zambonin, Pier Giorgio
February 2005
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Feb2005, Vol. 381 Issue 3, p639
Academic Journal
Biocompatible methods capable of rapid purification and fractionation of analytes from complex natural matrices are increasingly in demand, particularly at the forefront of biotechnological applications. Field-flow fractionation is a separation technique suitable for nano-sized and micro-sized analytes among which bioanalytes are an important family. The objective of this preliminary study is to start a more general approach to field-flow fractionation for bio-samples by investigation of the correlation between channel surface composition and biosample adhesion. For the first time we report on the use of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to study the surface properties of channels of known performance. By XPS, a polar hydrophobic environment was found on PVC material commonly used as accumulation wall in gravitational field-flow fractionation (GrFFF), which explains the low recovery obtained when GrFFF was used to fractionate a biological sample such asStaphylococcus aureus. An increase in separation performance was obtained first by conditioning the accumulation wall with bovine serum albumin and then by using the ion-beam sputtering technique to cover the GrFFF channel surface with a controlled inert film. XPS analysis was also employed to determine the composition of membranes used in hollow-fiber flow field-flow fractionation (HF FlFFF). The results obtained revealed homogeneous composition along the HF FlFFF channel both before and after its use for fractionation of an intact protein such as ferritin.


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