Affinity chromatography – Definition & Meaning

Affinity chromatography is a technique used in biochemistry and biotechnology to separate and purify molecules based on their specific interactions with other molecules. This technique is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, as it allows for the isolation of specific proteins and other biomolecules for use in drug development and research.


Affinity chromatography is a separation technique that uses a stationary phase containing a ligand that is specific for the molecule of interest. The ligand binds to the target molecule, allowing it to be selectively retained on the column while other molecules are washed away. This technique is often used to purify proteins and other biomolecules from complex mixtures.


The technique of affinity chromatography was first developed in the 1960s by the biochemist Pedro Cuatrecasas. Cuatrecasas was studying the interactions between hormones and their receptors, and he realized that he could use the specific binding between these molecules to isolate and purify them.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, affinity chromatography is “a technique for separating molecules (such as proteins) from a mixture based on their specific interactions with other molecules immobilized on a solid support.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines affinity chromatography as “a method of purifying a substance from a mixture by exploiting its specific binding affinity for another substance.”


Affinity chromatography is often used in conjunction with other separation techniques, such as size exclusion chromatography and ion exchange chromatography, to achieve a high degree of purity for the target molecule.
This technique is also commonly used in the production of biopharmaceuticals, as it allows for the isolation and purification of proteins and other biomolecules that are used in drug development.


Some synonyms for affinity chromatography include ligand chromatography, bioaffinity chromatography, and receptor chromatography.


There are no direct antonyms for affinity chromatography, as it is a specific technique used for the isolation and purification of biomolecules.

The same root words

The root word “affinity” refers to the specific binding between two molecules, and is derived from the Latin word “affinitas,” meaning “relationship by marriage.” The word “chromatography” comes from the Greek words “chroma,” meaning “color,” and “graphein,” meaning “to write.”

Example Sentences

  1. Affinity chromatography is a powerful tool for isolating and purifying specific biomolecules from complex mixtures.
  2. The ligand used in affinity chromatography is chosen based on its specific binding affinity for the target molecule.
  3. The development of affinity chromatography revolutionized the field of biochemistry, allowing for the isolation and purification of proteins and other biomolecules with unprecedented specificity and purity.
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