Applications of zeolite inorganic composites in biotechnology: Current state and perspectives
The purpose of this short review is to introduce applications of inorganic composites, zeolites, in biotechnology. Although inorganic chemistry is generally considered distant from biotechnology, the two could be harmoniously integrated for biopolymer chromatography. New chromatographic carriers have been developed based on principles differing from those underlying conventional chromatography. Some can be used for the purification of proteins according to novel physicochemical principles, according to their isoelectric point (pI), molecular weight and shape. The amount of protein adsorbed is related to the pore size of the composites, which can recognize biomolecules with reference to these three parameters. Proteins adsorbed at their pI have been found to be desorbed at the pI by polyethylene glycol, but not by high ionic medium (NaCl), SDS, non-ionic detergents, ATP or urea. Therefore, inorganic composites synthesized in consideration of pore size and three-dimensional structure are suitable as new chromatographic carriers. Selective fractionation of biomaterials including proteins and nucleic acids should provide useful information regarding whether conjugated proteins in a precipitated state can be separated on net charge and whether cells can be directly fractionated in future.