Catalyst Studies Chromatography

Isolation: Magnetic Techniques

I. Safarik and M. Safarikova, Institute of Landscape Ecology, Academy of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

Copyright © 2000 Academic Press

The first experiments with magnetic separation of cells date from the 1950s when lymphocytes were magnetically separated after in vitro phagocytosis of iron granules. The real boom in the application of magnetic labels for cell isolation came in the 1980s and since then an enormous amount of work has been done in both the development and application of this technique.

Magnetic separation of cells has several advantages in comparison with other techniques. In general, the magnetic separation procedure is gentle, facilitating the rapid handling of delicate cells in an unfriendly environment. It permits the cells of interest to be isolated directly from crude samples such as blood, bone marrow, tissue homogenates, stools, food, cultivation media, soil and water. The cells isolated by magnetic separation are usually pure, viable and unaltered. Magnetic separation is a simple, fast and efficient procedure and the whole separation process can be performed in the same tube. Large differences between magnetic permeabilities of the magnetic and nonmagnetic materials can be exploited in developing highly selective separation methods. The separation procedure can easily be scaled up if large quantities of living cells are required.

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