Filtration is either carried out by depth filters or surface filters. Depth filters trap particulates within the thickness of the matrix. Depth filtration are used when there is high flow rate and loading capabilities. Depth filters are either binder free or containing binders. In cases of binder containing depth filters materials such as acrylin resin and in binder free depth filters quartz or borosilicate microfibers are used. Depth filters have higher flow rates and loading capabilities compared to membrane filter. The combination of high loading capacity and fast filtration makes depth filtration the common choice for large volume applications.
The correct selection of depth filters can help improving the productivity of cell culture purification process. However, the filtration process is not optimized at the initial stage, problems such as premature plugging, low product recovery, lack of scalability and excess DNA can result in major downstream. The structure of depth filters can be considered as that of sponge where it removes submicron particles, soluble materials and colloidal materials by taking advantage of media for high contaminant removal. Usually contaminants can easily be removed by mechanical filtration but in cases of DNA and others the removal of contaminants with depth filters is less intuitive. For such products, the removal of contaminants is done through adsorption purification method.
The depth filters can be segmented on the basis of type, consumables, operating-mode, application and region. The different types of depth filters are positively charged depth filters, carbon impregnated depth filters, high silica depth filters, low pyrogenic depth filters and others. Depth filtration can take place through filter cartridge, filter bag, filter plate or a pre-coat filter. There are two types of operating mode for the depth filters in a bottom-in–top-out mode (inline) configuration and bottom-in–bottom-out mode (T-configuration). T-configuration mode is where the outlet and inlet are located at the same level and inline configuration, where the flow goes from the bottom to the top. These depth filters are used in the food and beverage industries, pharmaceutical, fine and specialty chemical, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries as well as in biotechnology. Millistak+ Pod from Millipore Sigma, 3M Zeta Plus from Cuno Inc., Sartoclear P from Sartorius Stedim Biotech and Stax from Pall Corporation are few examples of depth filter used in cell culture.
Regionally the depth filter market covers North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa (MEA). North America has the highest investment in research and development activities thereby driving the demand for depth filter market. Moreover, the amount of discoveries in biotechnology and live cell culture is also expected to result in increasing depth filtration demand. Stringent regulatory requirement and long drug approval process has driven the need for technologies and products which could make the manufacturing process more efficient. The availability of technological expertise and work force is expected to make Asia-Pacific region the fastest growing, as international players set up there manufacturing plants. Companies are expanding their position in the depth filter market by improving the conventional filtration techniques and carrying out better depth filtration. Pall Corporation introduced a new in-depth filtration technology, SUPRApak depth filtration which uses a flow configuration technology called “edge flow”. The new technology was introduced to replace the conventional plate and frame filters with this unique matrix.
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Some of the depth filters market contributors are Mann + Hummel GmbH, Filtteck Co., Ltd., Donaldson Company, 3M Purification Solutions, Ahlstrom Corporation, Alfa Laval, Filtrox AG, Eaton, Pall Corporation, Mar Cor Purification and Parker Hannifin Corporation. Filtrox AG appointed BioPharma Dynamics as its distributor. BioPharma Dynamics would be responsible for the distribution of range of innovative products thereby extending its product profile of single use systems. There has been a rapid adoption of single-use technologies for biopharmaceutical processing. However, using these disposable consumables for large-scale bioprocessing was a real challenge. 3M Purification Solutions introduced Zeta Plus system consisting a single-use depth filtration system.
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