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Direct 3D printing of monolithic ion exchange adsorbers

Simon, Ursula, Dimartino, Simone
Journal of chromatography 2019 v.1587 pp. 119-128
anion exchange, binding capacity, bovine serum albumin, chromatography, copolymerization, ligands, models, polyethylene glycol, resins, surface area
Monolithic adsorbers with anion exchange (AEX) properties have been 3D printed in an easy one-step process, i.e. not requiring post-functionalization to introduce the AEX ligands. The adsorber, 3D printed using a commercial digital light processing (DLP) printer, was obtained by copolymerisation of a bifunctional monomer bearing a positively charged quaternary amine as well as an acrylate group, with the biocompatible crosslinker polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA). To increase the surface area, polyethylene glycol was introduced into the material formulation as pore forming agent. The influence of photoinitiator (Omnirad 819) and photoabsorber (Reactive Orange 16, RO16) concentration was investigated in order to optimize printing resolution, allowing to reliably 3D print features as small as 200 μm and of highly complex Schoen Gyroids. Protein binding was measured on AEX adsorbers with a range of ligand densities (0.00, 2.03, 2.60 and 3.18 mmol/mL) using bovine serum albumin (BSA) and c-phycocyanin (CPC) as model proteins. The highest equilibrium binding capacity was found for the material presenting the lowest ligand density analysed (2.03 mmol/mL), adsorbing 73.7 ± 5.9 mg/mL and 38.0 ± 2.2 mg/mL of BSA and CPC, respectively. This novel 3D printed material displayed binding capacities in par or even higher than commercially available chromatographic resins. We expect that the herein presented approach of using bifunctional monomers, bearing commonly used chromatography ligands, will help overcome the material limitations currently refraining 3D printing applications in separation sciences.