Separation of Bioactive Small Molecules, Peptides from Natural Sources and Proteins from Microbes by Preparative Isoelectric Focusing (IEF)

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Natural products derived from plants and microbes are a rich source of bioactive molecules. Prior to their use, the active molecules from complex extracts must be purified for downstream applications. There are various chromatographic methods available for this purpose yet not all labs can afford high performance methods and isolation from complex biological samples can be difficult. Here we demonstrate that preparative liquid-phase isoelectric focusing (IEF) can separate molecules, including small molecules and peptides from complex plant extracts, based on their isoelectric points (pI). We have used the method for complex biological sample fractionation and characterization. As a proof of concept, we fractionated a Gymnema sylvestre plant extract, isolating a family of terpenoid saponin small molecules and a peptide. We also demonstrated effective microbial protein separation using the Candida albicans fungus as a model system.