A new system for the isolation and purification of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and related molecules from complex systems such as plasma is described. Affinity chromatography which exploits the very high affinity between the polymeric base Polybrene and sulphated polysaccharides was used. A novel volatile buffer system composed of ammonium formate and formic acid, which allows the complete recovery of samples, was developed, and elution conditions were optimised for the separation and purification of GAGs of different charge densities. Using this system the losses associated with dialysis and desalting, frequently necessary preliminaries to further analysis, are avoided.
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