Extraction of penicillin G from aqueous solutions: Analysis of reaction equilibrium and mass transfer

Md M. Hossain, J. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of the reaction equilibrium and mass transfer in the extraction of penicillin G (Pen G) into an organic phase is an important research area to develop a cost-effective process for its separation from an aqueous fermentation media. In order to evaluate this, equilibrium experiments were first carried out to select the organic phase (composed of the carrier and solvent) that gives good values for the distribution of penicillin G between the aqueous and organic phases. An organic phase of Amberlite LA-2 in any of the solvents (Shellsol TK/butyl acetate/tributyl phosphate) gave high distribution coefficient and the stoichiometry of the reaction has been shown to follow a simple ratio of 2:2. The performance of the organic phases was evaluated in a membrane contactor and very high percentage extraction was achieved. The extraction was performed by contacting a "feed" solution containing penicillin G (flowing in the fiber side) with an "organic phase" of Amberlite LA-2 in one of the solvents (flowing on the shell side) of the contactor. The antibiotic solutes formed complex with the Amberlite LA-2 molecules which were transported across the fiber wall to the shell side and extracted in the organic phase. The extraction in once-through mode was low and the feed/organic solutions need to be recycled to increase the percentage extraction. In the recycle mode operated at flow rates of 3.6-4.4 mL/s, an extraction of 90-98% was achieved. A simple mathematical model and its semi-analytical solution presented here can be used to determine the overall mass transfer coefficient using the experimental values of the distribution coefficient, operating parameters and the dimensions of the membrane module.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2008


  • Carrier
  • Distribution coefficient
  • Extraction
  • Hollow-fiber membrane contactor
  • Mass transfer coefficient
  • Organic solution
  • Penicillin G

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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