Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemical Engineering


Caryn L. Heldt


The biopharmaceutical industry has a growing demand and an increasing need to improve the current virus purification technologies, especially as more and more vaccines are produced from cell-culture derived virus particles. Downstream purification strategies can be expensive and account for 70% of the overall manufacturing costs. The economic pressure and purification processes can be particularly challenging when the virus to be purified is small, as in our model virus, porcine parvovirus (PPV). Our efforts are focused on designing an easy, economical, scalable and efficient system for virus purification, and we focused on aqueous two-phase systems. Industry acceptable standards for virus vaccine recovery can be as low as 30% due to demand of high final titer, virus transduction inhibitors and presence of empty or defective virus capsids as impurities. We have overcome these shortcomings by recovering a high 64% of infectious virus using an aqueous two-phase system. We used high molecular weight polymer and citrate salt to achieve a good yield and eliminated the major contaminant bovine serum albumin.

Viruses are also studied for ensuring pure and safe drinking water. Low pressure microfiltrations are continuously being investigated for water filters as they allow high permeate flux and low fouling. Viruses such as PPV are small enough to pass through the microporous membranes. Control of viruses in water is crucial for public health and we have designed an affinity based membrane filter to capture virus. Nanofibers have a high surface to volume ratio providing a highly accessible surface area for virus adsorption. Chitosan an insoluble, biocompatible and biodegradable polymer was used for adsorbing trimer peptide WRW. About 0.2 μmoles of cysteine terminal WRW peptide was conjugated to amine terminal chitosan using maleimide conjugation chemistry. We achieved 90-99% virus removal from water adjusted to a neutral pH. The virus removal from affinity based chitosan was attributed to electrostatic and hydrophobic driven binding effect.