Convective Interaction Media (CIM) are newly developed polymer-based monolithic supports which were introduced for chromatographic analyses, in-process control, solid phase extraction and laboratory purification of target biomolecules, both on analytical and on preparative scale. CIM supports allow high resolution separations which can, in case of analytical units - disks - be carried out within seconds (Figures 1 and 2). This is due to predominantly convective mass transport of biomolecules between the mobile and stationary phase and low dead volumes. Additionally, the dynamic binding capacity is not affected by high flow rates.
CIM can be scaled up to preparative level. For this purpose, the tubular-shaped monolithic units are prepared and placed in special housings (Figure 3). These preparative tubes are intended for very fast preparative purification of biomolecules from complex mixtures. Due to their special design, which allows radial flow of the liquid through the porous wall of the tube, and due to their low resistance to flow, the separations can be carried out at high flow rates and low back pressures (Figure 4). Small-scale preparative tubes are made of the same material as analytical CIM disks. In this way, the purification and monitoring processes can be performed on the same type of support by applying identical separation modes. The scaling-up from analytical to preparative level can therefore be carried out in a much shorter time, thus considerably reducing the cost of process development. In addition, this speed has an economic potential not only for faster and therefore cheaper production, but it will also lead to better quality and yield of unstable products.