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The Best Method for Molecular Weight Reduction

Polysaccharides, also called glycans, are clusters of small monosaccharides which make up a larger molecule. Polysaccharides are carbohydrate-based polymers made by all living organisms. Monosaccharides are simple sugars, like glucose. Among the most advantageous aspects of polysaccharides is that they are biocompatible & biodegradable and can be naturally broken down by the body.


Engineering of Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides have many properties that make their hydrophilic structures give an increased probability in targeting tumors as well as their hydrophobic groups providing good carries for insoluble drugs.

Polysaccharides can also be used to form conjugate vaccines. However, many polysaccharides starting molecular weight is too large to utilize these great properties.


Using High Shear Forces

Microfluidics technology uses high shear forces to achieve low molecular weight polysaccharides that show positive zeta potential and higher solubility at a neutral pH.

This makes it easier for purification, reduces viscosity, provides more terminal reactive sites, and more.


High Shear Processing

Microfluidizer® processors are designed to be simple to use and are easy to clean and maintain. Microfluidics also provides products with the option of conforming to cGMP requirements.


Polysaccharides Processing Solutions

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Polysaccharides in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Polysaccharides are used in the development of many pharmaceuticals. Examples of polysaccharide use in the pharma industry include as plasma expanders, carriers for water-insoluble drugs, in drug formulation, as immune stimulators and vaccine antigens.

Because of their biocompatible and biodegradable properties, the body naturally breaks polysaccharides down to their building blocks. In addition to their structure, the polymer molecular weight can affect the properties of polysaccharides.


Microfluidizer® Technology for Polysaccharides

Use of a Microfluidizer® high-pressure homogenizer for mechanical sizing is superior to chemical methods of molecular weight reduction. Chemical processing can modify the polysaccharide chemical structure, often resulting in highly polydisperse polymers.

A Microfluidizer® processor reduces the molecular weight without altering the chemical structure of the polysaccharide or its attached groups. 

Because Microfluidizer® technology exposes all the material to the same high shear conditions within the fixed-geometry Interaction Chamber™, the final product is very homogenous with low polydispersity.

When you’re ready to scale up processing, simply place additional micro channels in the chamber — this increases flow rate while maintaining the equivalent high shear processing obtained at smaller volumes.


Advantages of Microfluidizer® Technology

Various studies have confirmed the superiority of the Microfluidizer® technology for molecular weight reduction. Advantages were confirmed in two pharmaceutical case studies for conjugated vaccines containing polysaccharides.

The studies conclusively found that Microfluidizer® technology is effective in achieving the target weight of polysaccharides used as vaccine antigens, in some cases with a single pass. When used for conjugate vaccine development, the Microfluidizer® processor reduced molecular weight and viscosity and created a more manageable and easily filterable product.

A benchtop Microfluidizer® processor, particularly the LV1 model, is ideally suited for development. This model handles very low volumes and offers a simple, controllable and reproducible method for determining optimum parameters for polymer molecular weight reduction. These parameters can then be used to directly scale up to pilot and/or production volumes.

Learn more about these case studies by downloading our application note.

Download the App Note

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