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Filtration is a technique that utilizes a porous barrier to separate suspended or dissolved materials in solution based on size or molecular weight, eliminating the need for centrifugation, solvent phase changes or other product damaging methods. Application of positive or negative pressure differential across the selectively permeable barrier drives the separation in a sieve-like manner. Smaller constituents pass through the barrier with the solvent as filtrate while the larger solutes are retained. The type of filtration is based on the retentate and pore size.

Being the simplest and least expensive, macrofiltration is conventionally defined as the filtration of particles that are 5 m or greater.

Microfiltration (MF), originally described as the separation of particles or microbes that could be seen with the aid of a microscope (cells, macrophage, large virus particles, cellular debris), pertains to separations with the membrane pore size ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 m in diameter. As a representative of Spectrum Laboratories, Inc. in Canada, we offer three types of hollow fibre tangential flow MF membranes with pore sizes ranging from 20 nm to 0.5 m and surface areas ranging from 6 cm² to 13.9 m². See Laboratory Microfiltration and HF TFF Microfiltration sections for more details.

Conventional laboratory ultrafiltration (UF) involves applying a pressure (positive or negative) to drive a solution through a semi-permeable membrane to clarify, concentrate or fractionate the molecular species in the range of 1–1000 kD.

Since the "molecular shape" of dissolved solutes ranging from 1 to 1000 kD significantly affects the retention characteristics, the pore rating for ultrafiltration membranes is indirectly determined as the nominal molecular weight cut off (MWCO) that is retained by approximately 95%. We offer low protein binding polysulfone hollow fibre modules with 10 kD, 50 kD, 400 kD, 500 kD (20 nm) and 1000 kD (0.05 m) and surface areas ranging from 8 cm to 5.1 m, as well as Molecular/Por ultrafiltration membranes and Stirred cells specifically designed to easily perform these separations in the laboratory environment.

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