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Blood is a special liquid. Is there actually anything more valuable? The basis of all human life is also the foundation for a globally operating industry. Whereas state institutions and aid organizations generally use and pass on whole blood, many industrial companies have specialized in fractionation. Therapy with blood components to explicitly combat numerous illnesses long ago developed from simple blood transfusions.
Fractionation is the separation of the proteins in the plasma phase by physical and chemical processes. They are based on changes in the three parameters temperature, alcohol concentration and pH-value, which affect the solubility of the proteins in water. Human blood consists of a red phase and the clear plasma phase. The red phase, about 40 percent of the blood, is separated by special centrifuges in the donor bag. The plasma is deep frozen after extraction and is processed by fractionation equipment. Only about five percent of the plasma consists of the valuable components, which must be fractionated. The remainder is water and electrolytes.
Many valuable substances can be extracted from the proteins. The cryoprecipitate, the clotting preparation “Factor VIII concentrate” and the prothrombin complex (PPSB) can be gained from the fresh plasma straight after thawing. The remaining plasma then passes to the ethanol fractionation by the Cohn process, where the individual fractions such as fibrinogen, gamma globulin, alpha and beta globulin and albumin are precipitated.
The plasma protein particles are used to prevent and treat bleeding, to control bleeding during operations, for various infectious diseases, for protein deficiency, malnutrition and to increase the proportion of blood plasma. After fractionation, the proteins are treated by various specific methods before they are available for clinical purposes.
Fractionation by the Cohn process is conducted by reliable separators with cooled bowls and housings. The maintenance of a temperature range of -3 to -6 °C is important for the process. Chamber separators of type BKA / BKB are employed for this purpose. The separators of the latest generation are self-cleaning separators of the Westfalia Separator® hycon type (BSH 30), with which manual handling of the solids is no longer necessary.