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Techniques & Tools Preparative/Process Chromatography

Modular Protein Purification

Pittcon 2013 played host to innumerable innovations – enough to fill an entire issue – but of all the products on display, it was a seemingly simple chromatography system for protein purification that stood out from the crowd.

Graphic Vote for Better Chromatography

No doubt, Bio-Rad’s marketing team created an excellent “campaign” (see images), but it was the thoughtfulness of the system – from nuts and bolts to software – that tailored the NCG modular chromatography system perfectly for biologists who have no real knowledge (or interest!) in chromatography. By simplifying the process with a number of innovative (and perhaps, in retrospect, obvious) additions to both hardware and software design, chromatography becomes a useful tool rather than a challenge to be wrestled with. For example, LED lights on the hardware (“Point-to-Plumb”) indicate where tubes should be connected and confirm that you’ve just mistakenly configured your system to dump your precious protein into the sink… 

But modular was the buzzword. Pumps that can be removed for maintenance (outside the cold room), in a system that can be expanded once you’ve made a breakthrough and need to ramp up purification. In fact, a Bio-Rad representative quipped that the modular system’s “tier expansion” would be well-understood by ladies wishing to add space to their closet – though somewhat stereotypical, the nods from female onlookers proved the statement highly astute. 

An early adopter at UC Davis, California, said of the system: “less time spent training and more time spent purifying” – perfect common sense.

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About the Author
Rich Whitworth

Rich Whitworth completed his studies in medical biochemistry at the University of Leicester, UK, in 1998. To cut a long story short, he escaped to Tokyo to spend five years working for the largest English language publisher in Japan. "Carving out a career in the megalopolis that is Tokyo changed my outlook forever. When seeing life through such a kaleidoscopic lens, it's hard not to get truly caught up in the moment." On returning to the UK, after a few false starts with grey, corporate publishers, Rich was snapped up by Texere Publishing, where he spearheaded the editorial development of The Analytical Scientist. "I feel honored to be part of the close-knit team that forged The Analytical Scientist – we've created a very fresh and forward-thinking publication." Rich is now also Content Director of Texere Publishing, the company behind The Analytical Scientist.

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