Fractionation of soybean proteins with pressurized carbon dioxide as a volatile electrolyte

Russell Thiering, Gerard Hofland*, Neil Foster, Geert Jan Witkamp, Luuk Van De Wielen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Fractionation of specific proteins from plant material is a complex and involved science, yet pure protein extracts are in high demand by a wide range of food and pharmaceutical industries. In this study carbon dioxide has been used as a volatile electrolyte to isoelectrically precipitate two major protein constituents of soybean. Carbon dioxide was shown to be effective in purifying glycinin and β-conglycinin in a three-step process as 95% and 80% concentrated fractions with precipitation yields of 28% and 21%, respectively. Recycling of the mixed precipitate of the intermediary step enables complete separation into the concentrated fractions. Fractionation acidity was precisely controlled by a simple modification of pressure. In addition, the occurrence of a pH overshoot was prevented at any point in the fractionation vessel, as the pH minimum was defined by its equilibrium relationship with carbon dioxide operating pressure. The removal of the glycinin precipitate was an important factor in the purification procedure. The yield of the individual concentrated glycinin and β-conglycinin precipitate fractions was a function of carbon dioxide pressure, extract concentration and, to a much lesser extent, temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 5 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon dioxide
  • Fractionation
  • Glycinin
  • Soy protein
  • β-conglycinin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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