Ion Exchange Chromatography

How does IEC work, click here for the video!

Separation in Ion Exchange chromatography (IEC or IEX) is based on reversible adsorption of charged solute molecules to immobilized functional groups of opposite charge. Biomolecules generally have charged groups on their surfaces, which change with the buffer pH. Elution can be accomplished by changing the ionic strength or the pH, of which changing the ionic strength by increasing the salt concentration is most common.

IEC is further subdivided into cation exchange and anion exchange chromatography. Anion and cation exchange phases are classified as strong or weak, depending on how much the ionization state of the functional groups vary with pH. A strong ion exchange phase has the same charge density on its surface over a broad pH range, whereas the charge density of a weak ion exchange phase changes with pH, affecting its selectivity, which differs at different pH values.

More information

    <p>Anion exchange media carry positively charged groups that attract negatively charged anions.</p>
    <p>Cation exchange resins display negatively charged groups which attract positively charged cations.</p>

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