Frequently Asked Questions about SMB Chromatography

Technical Questions

MCC is a general term used to describe a variety of operating modes for continuous chromatography processes, including: a) the traditional counter-current isocratic SMBC which is often used for separation of binary mixtures such as racemic and diastereomeric mixtures; b) Sequential SMB (SSMB) used in the food industry for production of the High Fructose Corn Syrup and other sweeteners; c) novel continuous chromatography processes used for protein and mAb purification such as Step SMB, BioSMB, or BioSC. Multicolumn continuous chromatography is typically 3 to 20 times more productive than a corresponding batch chromatography process.
To run a continuous process, the Octave System can be configured with any number of columns from 2 to 8.
Yes, because all columns participate in each step of the continuous cycle, they must be packed with the same chromatography media.
Most batch separations can be converted into continuous mode, regardless of separation chemistry used in a corresponding batch process. It is important to decide whether to use Isocratic or Step Mode to convert to continuous process. Please refer to Choosing a Mode.
The Octave System does not include columns because the solid phase and column size vary depending on the user’s application. Semba Biosciences offers a limited number of pre-packed columns as well as custom packed columns, which can be ordered separately.
The standard Octave System is compatible with many organic solvents including alcohols and saturated hydrocarbons, as well as most acids and bases. Octave HS Systems are compatible with a broader range of organic solvents, including partially halogenated and aromatic hydrocarbons and high concentrations of esters, ketones, aldehydes, and acetonitrile.
Yes, Octave Systems are compatible with both caustic and acidic clean-in-place solutions and methods.
Purification throughput will depend on many factors including target compound concentration in the feed, separation chemistry, and required purity specs. Typical throughput and column sizes are given in the table below.

System Maximum Flow Rate Typical Column Size Output per Day (8 hours)
Octave 10 System 12 ml/min 1–10 ml 100s milligrams – 30 grams
Octave 100 System 100 ml/min 10–100 ml Up to 300 grams
Octave 300 System 300 ml/min 50–1,000 ml Up to 1 kilogram
We provide Isocratic and Step Mode Parameter Calculators, which are Microsoft Excel worksheets. The Isocratic Parameter Calculator facilitates conversion of single column separation data into starting parameters for isocratic SMBC. Worksheets are available for 3-zone or 4-zone configurations. The Step SMBC Parameter Calculator assists in calculating parameters for Step SMBC using common process configurations.
The Octave System is not designed to run linear gradients because MCC or SMBC processes generally do not employ them. However, step gradients are often used in Step Mode on the Octave.
The Octave 4XE UV-VIS Detector records absorbance data from up to 4 wavelengths between 190 and 840 nm simultaneously, and includes SembaView software, which allows simultaneous data recording from up to two Octave 4XE UV-VIS Detectors. Other detectors with appropriate flow cells can be used if run from a separate computer.
No. A Windows OS computer with pre-loaded software is available as a separate item.
No. Fraction collectors are typically not needed for continuous chromatography because once separation has achieved a steady state, purified outlet streams are collected into the same vessels continuously.
The Octave System is controlled by SembaProTM software, a Java application. If the Octave System is purchased with a computer, SembPro is already installed and configured. The program is also supplied on a CD or memory stick. A separate folder containing pre-programmed scripts is also supplied with the SembaPro application. In addition, we provide the SembaPro ScriptWriterTM tool, which allows writing and editing SembaPro scripts on any Windows computer with Microsoft Excel 2010 or later.
Yes. Each column position can be isolated using appropriate valve settings.
The Octave System uses high-quality polymer fittings in standard English sizes. Several types of fittings are used. Many of the connections in the system, such as those to and from the pump heads and inlet/outlet ports, use ¼-28 flat-bottom fittings with two-piece Super Flangeless™ nuts and ferrules. The ferrules are permanently attached to the tubing and swivel for convenience in breaking and re-making connections. When using 10-32 Fingertight™ coned fittings, no ferrules are required. ShapeShifter™ Adapters (¼-28 M – 10-32 M PEEK) can be used to connect smaller columns directly to the valve blocks at their inlets. These adapters reduce the dead volume in the system and substitute for the column inlet lines, Please see [new Accessories webpage address] for ordering information.
The typical setup with four pumps and an Octave 4XE UV-VIS Detector requires about four linear feet (130 cm) of bench space for the system components. The minimum bench depth should be approximately 2.5 feet (75 cm). The bench location should ideally provide access to the rear of the Octave System to service the electrical and pneumatic connections. Additional bench space of 100 square inches (650 square centimeters) directly in front of the Chromatography Module is required to locate the Column Stand. A stainless steel Reservoir Tray measuring 17 x 21 inches (43 x 53 cm) is provided on top of the Octave for reagent and collection vessels. Additional bench space may be required for larger vessels or for a greater quantity of vessels than may be placed on the Reservoir Tray.
The valves in the Octave system are a proprietary diaphragm type. Compressed nitrogen is used as a pilot gas to move the valve diaphragm into the closed position.
No, any industrial grade compressed nitrogen that meets the purity standards in the Octave System Manual is acceptable.

General Questions

Rent-to-Own options are available.
Basic user training is conducted during system installation at a customer site. More advanced training and/or custom method development can be arranged. Please inquire for more information.