Malvern Instruments Ltd

Protein Molecular Size / Weight Calculation

Malvern delivers the biophysical characterization technology, materials and experience to help scientists and engineers study, understand and regulate the characteristics of dispersed systems. Such systems include aerosols and sprays together with polymers in solution, proteins, emulsions, nano-particle and particle suspensions, concentrated slurries and bulk powders.

Malvern instruments have applications at all levels of research, development and production. Malvern instrumentation delivers crucial information to speed up research and development, improve and sustain product quality and maximize process efficiency.

Malvern Instruments' extensive product range includes:

Malvern products demonstrate the company's drive to harness the latest technologies and developments. These products are used in both industry and academic research, for a range of industries including pharmaceuticals, bulk chemicals, polymers and plastics cement, environmental and energy management.

Malvern instruments enable researchers and manufacturers to measure particle size and shape, molecular mass, weight, size and conformation, protein charge, zeta potential and rheological characteristics. Malvern's equipment can also be used for chemical identification to enhance our understanding of dispersed systems.

Protein Molecular Size / Weight Calculation

The Viscotek TDAmax GPC/ SEC system for protein molecular size / weight calculation combines four detectors and gives detailed insight into the sample. The four detectors are a static light scattering detector, a viscosity detector, a refractive index detector and a UV photo diode array detector, recording complete UV-spectra at each point of the chromatogram.

In a single SEC experiment with tetra detection the absolute molecular weight, the size and the amount of each component can be determined. This allows the reliable identification of aggregates. In addition, insight in the structure of the proteins is gained and the characterization of conjugates and PEGulated protein samples is enabled.

Particle Size Measurement Techniques

Malvern's catalogue of particle sizing systems employs a range of particle size measurement techniques. The Mastersizer series are based on laser diffraction to offer precise measurements for dry and wet application, and set standards in precision and repeatability. The Mastersizer is used for a measurement span between 0.02 µm and  2000µm.

Dynamic light scattering incorporated in the Zetasizer systems is well established as a few nanometer to sub-micron technique. However, not only size, but also shape of particles - and therefore imaging systems - are getting more and more important. Morphologi G3 and FPIA3000 take pictures of each particle and allow measurement and quantification of small variations in particle size and shape, since each particle can be separately studied and documented.

Zeta Potential of Nanoparticles

Zeta Potential is an important measurement across industries such as pharmaceuticals, medicine, brewing, ceramics, mineral processing and water treatment. Malvern Instruments offers Zetasizer systems that can provide accurate and timely measurements. The high concentration and small volume zeta potential cells available for Malvern's Zetasizer Nano nanoparticle characterisation system allow determination of the Zeta potential of nanoparticles in samples with up to 40 percent weight/volume.

In general a sample around three times the concentration can be measures as in a standard zeta potential cell. The cell requires only a 150µm sample for particle characterisation in aqueous media. It is well suited for use with delicate substances, to avoid sophisticated dilution and centrifugation methods which are often needed to preserve the integrity of the sample.

Particle Size Calibration

The method of laser diffraction for particle size measurement relies on the fact that the passage of particles through a laser beam scatters light by an angle precisely linked to their size. A decrease in particle size leads to a logarithmic increase in scattering angle.

There is no need for particle size calibration of any of Malvern Instruments laser diffraction systems, because they are based on fundamental scientific principles. You can, however, verify the performance using Malvern Instruments Quality Audit Standards or Latex Spheres. The Mastersizer is the world’s most used laser diffraction particle sizing system, used in 98 % world’s top pharma companies.

Rheology for Emulsions and Suspensions

The properties of particles, such as mean particle dimensions, size distribution, particle charge and zeta potential, along with the particle shapes determine the bulk properties of a material, including its rheology.

It is intriguing to recognise how the large-scale properties of a material, including its rheometry are influenced by the variation of zeta potentials, shapes and sizes.  Understanding these principles allows deliberate control over a material's rheology.

Measurement and adjustment of particle characteristics and rheology in emulsions and suspensions allows product properties to be optimised to suit every application.

You can measure the rheological properties using the Malvern Kinexus.


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  • Dr Paul Kippax is Pharmaceutical Portfolio Manager at Malvern Instruments. A chemist and colloid scientist, he has long experience and in-depth understanding of particle characterization techniques including laser diffraction and analytical imaging.

  • Dr Deborah Huck-Jones

    Product Manager for Analytical Imaging Contact Expert

    Dr Deborah Huck-Jones is Product Manager for Analytical Imaging at Malvern Instruments with expertise in automated imaging for particle characterization, customer application testing, product demonstration, training and troubleshooting.

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Malvern Instruments Ltd
Enigma Business Park
WR14 1XZ, Malvern
United Kingdom

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