Protein analysis and purification of proteins from fermentation broth or extracts

The group has chromatography equipment for analytical and preparative work in the field of protein analysis and purification of proteins. Examples of work performed are the analysis and purification of interferons, monoclonal antibodies and blood clotting factors from cell culture supernatants and the purification of the natural sweetener thaumatin from plant extracts.

Protein purification

Extracellular enzymes and other proteins are concentrated and conditioned by membrane processes, intracellular enzymes after biomass digestion by mechanical and enzymatic methods. Agitated ball mills and high-pressure homogenizers are available for mechanical digestion. Homogenates are converted into raw extracts by membrane processes and aqueous two-phase systems, inclusion bodies are renatured into their native, active forms after solubilisation. If required by the application, fine purification follows with multidimensional liquid chromatographic separation techniques up to pilot and pilot plant scale.

Characterization of proteins and peptides

New polypeptides such as enzymes and active ingredients are characterized using protein analysis methods. At the Fraunhofer IGB the complete spectrum of methods from automated microsequencing (Edman degradation) to mass spectrometric methods such as Maldi-Tof-MS and LC-MS/MS is available for the analysis of the primary structure. Glycosylations are additionally analyzed by ion chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection.


Reference projects

Raw material and energy efficiency through process engineering innovations – Pro3


The aim was to achieve the transition from batch processes in the work-up to continuous process control thanks to a new chromatography system. In this way, pharmaceuticals can be produced in a more energy- and resource-efficient manner.


Duration: November 2012 - December 2016

New sweetener thaumatin – process for the utilization of an African crop plant


Thaumatin is approved as a food additive throughout the European Union and many other countries in the world. At present, the sweetener is distributed by an English company. Their plant material comes from the Ivory Coast, but is processed in Great Britain.