Application of periodic backpulsing to reduce membrane fouling during ultrafiltration of plasmid DNA

Ehsan Espah Borujeni, Ying Li, Andrew L. Zydney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


There is considerable interest in using ultrafiltration for the purification of plasmid DNA, but membrane fouling remains an issue. The objective of this work was to examine the use of periodic backpulsing to reduce fouling during plasmid ultrafiltration by "releasing" previously trapped plasmids from the membrane pores. Experiments were performed using hollow fiber ultrafiltration membranes over a range of backpulse frequency, amplitude, and duration. Plasmid removal under typical conditions was dominated by the shear / drag associated with the tangential flow, with good recovery of plasmid transmission obtained by periodically closing the permeate exit line (without any backpressure). Data were analyzed using a simple fouling model that accounts for the partial blockage of pores by trapped plasmids that are then released during backpulsing. The results clearly demonstrate that this type of pulsed operation can provide much greater plasmid recovery in the permeate solution with a nearly constant filtrate flux during a diafiltration process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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