ISPE Glossary of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Terminology

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Reverse Osmosis (RO)

A process that reverses (by the application of pressure) the flow of water in the natural process of osmosis so that it passes from the more concentrated to the more dilute solution. This is one of the processes used to reduce the ionic TDS, TOC, and suspended materials of feed water through a semipermeable membrane leaving dissolved and suspended materials behind. These are swept away in a waste stream to drain.

Publication Source: ISPE Good Practice Guide: Commissioning and Qualification of Pharmaceutical Water and Steam Systems

Publication Date: 2007

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

The reversal of osmosis to purify water. In osmosis, water diffuses through a semipermeable membrane from a region of higher concentration (such as pure fresh water) into one of lower concentration (such as a solution of water and salt). The flow of water can be reversed with an opposing pressure that exceeds osmotic pressure. With RO, water is forced out of the lower concentrated solution (such as the salt solution), leaving the solute (impurities) behind.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

RO is one of two acceptable techniques for producing Water For injection (WFI), USP Procedure involves passing purified water across a semipermeable membrane against an osmotic gradient. RO is an excellent pretreatment for deionized water that will be subsequently filtered, because silt and colloids are removed. Usual performance of RO is removal of organics, multi-valent ions, and 90% of mono-valent ions.

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