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Fabrication of rigid and macroporous agarose microspheres by pre-cross-linking and surfactant micelles swelling method

Zhao, Xi, Huang, Lan, Wu, Jie, Huang, Yong-Dong, Zhao, Lan, Wu, Nan, Zhou, Wei-Qing, Hao, Dong-Xia, Ma, Guang-Hui, Su, Zhi-Guo
Colloids and surfaces 2019 v.182 pp. 110377
adsorption, agarose, confocal laser scanning microscopy, crosslinking, gels, ion exchange chromatography, macropores, mass transfer, micelles, microparticles, moieties, porosity, porous media, proteins, surfactants
A novel combined method of pre-cross-linking and surfactant micelles swelling was proposed in this study to fabricate highly cross-linked and macroporous agarose (HMA) microspheres. Agarose was chemically modified by allylglycidyl ether (AGE) as heterobifunctional cross-linker via its active glycidyl moieties before gel formation and pre-cross-linking was achieved. By this means, the effective concentration of cross-linker presented in agarose gel increased significantly, and thus cross-linking with a high-efficiency was achieved. Further to enhance the intraparticle mass transfer of agarose microspheres, the surfactant micelles swelling method was utilized to create interconnected macropores. Under the optimal condition, HMA microspheres with homogeneous reticular structure and pore size of hundreds nanometers were successfully prepared. They exhibited a low backpressure with a flow velocity as high as 1987 cm/h, which was much higher than that of commercial Sepharose 4 F F. HMA microspheres were then derivatized with carboxymethyl (CM) groups and applied in ion-exchange chromatography. As expected, CM-HMA column separated model proteins effectively even at a flow velocity three times higher than that of commercial CM-4 F F. Visualization of dynamic protein adsorption by confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) revealed that the intraparticle mass transfer of CM-HMA microspheres was intensified due to its macroporous structure. All of the results indicated the newly developed agarose microspheres were a promising medium for high-speed chromatography.