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Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology

Cell harvesting or biomass recovery is an important step in any fermentation process, especially when manufacturing bulk intermediates such as antibiotics. Membrane filtration has successfully replaced separation methods such as rotary vacuum filters or centrifugation in many plants by significantly improving product yields and reducing operator involvement and maintenance costs. Membranes are also a standard part of industrial enzyme manufacturing lines to concentrate the enzymes prior to further downstream processing.

Purification and concentration of amino acids

Membrane filtration is a much more effective alternative to clarify and concentrate amino acids than the older, more traditional processes. With ultrafiltration, the various types of amino acids can be processed more uniformly despite the strong characteristic differences of each kind of broth.

Protein purification and recovery

Membrane filtration is very effective in removing bacteria and other impurities from protein. There is also protein to be recovered from many process waste streams.

Concentration and de-mineralization of blood plasma

After blood cells are removed (commonly by centrifuge) the plasma can be concentrated by membrane filtration. Concentrating the plasma is often done to reduce shipping costs, as further processing will take place at a different location.

Peptide concentration

NF is used to concentrate peptide streams.


Somatotropin (porcine or bovine somatotropin) is a growth horomone given to livestock (commonly as an injection or topical agent) to improve animal growth and internally increase the efficiency of the animals' feed. The production of injectable porcine or bovine somatotropin involves fermentation and several steps of membrane filtration to effectively purify and concentrate the horomone.


Bacitracin is an antibiotic used in livestock feed. Membrane filtration is used to concentrate the bacitracin broth prior to drying. This reduces capitol and operation costs.


Membrane filtration is used in the manufacture of penicillin to purify and concentrate the broth.


Lysozyme is an enzyme that assists in fighting bacteria. Membrane filtration is the most effective process to concentrate the large amounts of lysozyme found in egg whites.

Streptomycin, Neomycin

Membrane filtration has been used not only to purify and concentrate these antibiotics, but also to remove their color.


Tetracycline is an antibiotic used most often for acne treatment. Membrane filtration is used to purify and concentrate the tetracycline broth, and in some plants it is used to recover tetracycline from waste streams.


Lactic Acid Production

As lactic acid is produced by fermentation, the fermenting broth is ultrafiltered to remove the lactic acid and recycle the cells back to the fermentor. UF or NF is further used to purify and concentrate the acid, sometimes as a preconcentration prior to evaporation.

Butyric Acid Production

UF and RO are used to purify and concentrate butyric acid

Citric Acid Production

Citric acid is produced by fermenting dextrose. MF is used to recover the acid from the fermenting broth and then NF is used to purify it.

Acetic Acid Production

RO is used to concentrate acetic acid.


Protease Enzyme

Protease enzyme is concentrated by NF

Cellulase Enzyme

Peroxidase Enzyme

Phytase enzyme cell separation and purification