Immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC) is a useful method for adsorption of proteins that have an affinity for transition metal ions. In this study, poly( hydroxyethyl methacrylate-methacryloyl-L-tryptophan) (PHEMATrp) nanoparticles were prepared by surfactant free emulsion polymerization. Then, Cu(II) ions were chelated on the PHEMATrp nanoparticles to be used in lysozyme adsorption studies in batch system. The maximum lysozyme adsorption capacity of the PHEMATrp nanoparticles was found to be 326.9 mg/g polymer at pH 7.0. The nonspecific lysozyme adsorption onto the PHEMA nanoparticles was negligible. In terms of protein desorption, it was observed that adsorbed lysozyme was readily desorbed in medium containing 1.0 M NaCl. The results showed that the metal-chelated PHEMATrp nanoparticles can be considered as a good adsorbent for lysozyme purification. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.