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Erythromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that has an antimicrobial spectrum similar to or slightly wider than that of penicillin, and is often used for people who have an allergy to penicillins.
Erythromycin is mainly fermentation production. As the fermentation broth contains a large number of mycelium, protein and polysaccharide material, to the separation and extraction of erythromycin caused difficulties affecting their yield and quality. Therefore, before separation and extraction of the fermentation broth need pretreatment. At present, more commonly used method is flocculation and high-speed centrifuge. The former sterilization rates are relatively high, but the removal of proteins and polysaccharides less effective, resulting in a high solution viscosity, affecting the crystallization process of the follow-up; the latter large energy consumption, equipment is expensive, in the actual production is difficult to wider application.
During the production of erythromycin, frame filter press, rotate vacuum drum filter are still used as a means of separation to remove protein, mycelium and solid particulates .The technical means available on site did not achieve satisfactory degrees of separation. Meanwhile, those methods are unable to separate the massive existences of soluble protein, macro-molecule organic matters from the broth. The filtered broth shows not high transmittance with residual insolubility and soluble impurities which would increase the difficulty in downstream extraction process and have bad effect on quality and yield of final product. According to market adjusting, some companies are asked to improve separation performance by means of membrane technology and to reduce the product losses. With the widely applications of ceramic membranes, they will play a significant role in purification and separation antibiotics.
Integrated Ultrafiltration and Nanofiltration is a separation in recent decades developed a new technology, better removal of macromolecules such as proteins and polysaccharides. With this technology, the usage of exacting solvent and de-emulsifier will be greatly minimized, reducing the load on the followed high speed centrifuge, solvent recycle and treatment of waste solids and wastewater. Moreover, NF permeates could be recycled directly as UF diafiltration water, extensively reducing the consumption of water and the load on wastewater treatment.