We have developed a novel chromatography system, an environmental-responsive chromatography, based on a multifunctional polymer. We designed a temperature-responsive copolymer with N-isopropylacrylamide and various monomers. This copolymer undergoes a reversible phase transition from a hydrophilic to a hydrophobic microstructure when triggered by a change of temperature. Also, with this chromatographic system is possible to separate the analytes by using only an aqueous solution or water as the mobile phase. Temperature-responsive chromatography could prove to be highly useful for bioactive molecules, such as steroid, amino acid and peptide separation. There are some advantages not to need an organic solvent, compared to traditional reversed-phase chromatography. For example, we achieved a successful separation of enzymes without a loss of bioactivity, and for environmental use as a new green technology, and for reducing the cost of handling and disposing of a mobile phase. Applications to bio-separation in various fields, such as medical and pharmaceutical sciences, are expected in the future.
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