Most life scientists, at some point in their careers, are faced with the problem of purifying a specific protein from a biological solution. For example, they may need to purify an antibody from a serum, or a single E. coli protein from an extract. The separation of a single protein from a mixture of thousands is a considerable task - it takes a long time to collect enough raw materials to make purification worthwhile. Purification is necessary, however, to provide valuable information about the exact chemical and physical nature of the protein under investigation, such as its molecular weight, structure, and biological activity.

Throughout the years, researchers have developed a number of different techniques for purifying large quantities of a specific protein from a protein mixture for further study. One of the more popular methods of preparative protein purification is liquid chromatography.

Most liquid chromatography separations are performed through the...

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