Magnetic nanobeads for purification applications

  • uacoopera
  • From Portugal
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

These nanobeads combine high surface area, high affinity to metal ions and magnetic features. By merging these properties in one platform, these nanobeads provide a faster and less expensive method for the separation and enrichment of specific proteins, often present in biological media in very low concentrations, compared to conventional methods such as metal-ion affinity chromatography.

Description of the technology

A group of researchers has developed a method for preparing novel magnetic nanobeads with high affinity for metal ions. Main applications of these nanobeads are the selective enrichment of proteins, namely metalloproteases and histidine-tagged proteins from complex mixtures. These applications were already confirmed in laboratorial scale. The magnetic nanobeads demonstrated high sensitivity for the successful separation of these proteins in minute amounts of the biological sample by simply applying a moderate magnetic field. Hence they constitute a fast and efficient alternative to currently available immobilization supports. The University seeks for companies working in Biotechnology, Pharmaceutics, Healthcare and Environmental areas for licensing and/or future collaboration in the development of novel formulations.


Present in diverse biofluids (e.g. urine, serum, saliva), due to their highly catalytic activity, metalloproteases (MMPs) are usually expressed in minute amounts and their deregulation can lead to pathological conditions. Current techniques for the characterization of MMPs and other proteases are often limited, lacking specific antibodies for some proteases, being expensive or simply incapable of detecting lower concentrations of proteases, such as those present in some biological traces. By other side, the production of recombinant proteins in a highly purified and well-characterized form is a major task for the protein chemist working in the pharmaceutical industry. Several methods are widely used based on immobilized metal affinity chromatography to purify recombinant proteins. However these methods are often expensive and time-consuming. Therefore there is a need for improved methods for the selective enrichment of MMPs and purification of histidine-tagged proteins. The present technology provides a more effective alternative to current methods, based on magnetic nanoparticles with high affinity to metal ions.

Main advantages of its use

  • the nanobeads are highly stable in commonly used buffers for biological applications within a significant pH range (pH 5-9)
  • the nanobeads evidence versatility for applications in several biological mixtures, with different intrinsic properties.
  • the nanobeads have high affinity to metal ions
  • the nanobeads have high surface area
  • the nanobeads provide a faster method for the separation and enrichment of specific proteins
  • the nanobeads provide a less expensive method for the separation and enrichment of specific proteins


  • removal of metal ion contaminants from water
  • selective enrichment of proteins, namely metalloproteases and histidine-tagged proteins from complex mixtures
  • the development of improved analytical methods for monitoring the quality of water.

Related Keywords

  • Detection and Analysis methods
  • Soil and Groundwater Pollution
  • Analyses / Test Facilities and Methods
  • Wastewater Recycling
  • Industrial Water Treatment
  • Municipal Water Treatment
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Water treatment equipment and waste disposal systems
  • Other analytical and scientific instrumentation
  • Other measuring devices (including ifrared gas analysers, moisture analysers)
  • Water, sewerage, chemical and solid waste treatment plants
  • magnetic nanoparticles
  • surface modification
  • chelating ligands
  • metalloproteases
  • histidine-tagged proteins

About uacoopera

The University of Aveiro is a young and innovative university, which fosters entrepreneurship and technology and knowledge transfer, with expertise in a wide range of knowledge areas namely IT, Life Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Health, Environmental Sciences), Nanotechnology and Materials Science, Mechanics, Physics, Mathematics, Building, Design and Management. uacoopera is the Technology Transfer Office of University of Aveiro. This office engages in value adding activities such as start-up and spin-off creation, support to university-industry cooperation (sponsored research and consultancy services), IP protection and prosecution, licensing, marketing, among others. It covers four main interrelated functional areas – Intellectual Property Management, Licensing, Entrepreneurship, and Industry Liaison.


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