Research Highlight

Eco-friendly route to therapeutic antibodies

doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.126 Published online 21 September 2016

Researchers have developed a green way to extract and purify therapeutic antibodies, such as immunoglobulin G1, from a real and complex matrix in pharmaceutical industry using aqueous biphasic systems.

Antibodies are widely used in the treatment of cancers, autoimmune and neurological disorders. Existing techniques for extracting and purifying antibodies are complex and expensive and require solvents whose production generates greenhouse gases.   

To devise an eco-friendly process, the researchers synthesized an aqueous biphasic systems using choline bicarbonate, natural plant acids and polymer polypropylene glycol. They then tested their efficiency in  extracting and purifying immunoglobulin G, and the same antibody from rabbit serum. 

All the biphasic systems entirely extracted and recovered the pure antibodies in a single step without any loss. In the biphasic systems which consisted of a bio-ionic liquid phase and a polymer phase, the antibodies completely migrated to water-loving bio-ionic liquid phase and no traces of the antibodies were found in the water-repelling polymer phase.   

“The systems also successfully extracted the antibodies from real rabbit serum, indicating that this method could potentially be used to extract and purify antibodies for preparing therapeutic antibodies,” says lead scientist Kamalesh Prasad from the CSIR-Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Gujarat, India.


1. Mondal, D. et al. Suitability of bio-based ionic liquids for the extraction and purification of IgG antibodies. Green. Chem. (2016) doi:10.1039/c6gc01482h