An affinity dye ligand, Cibacron Blue F3GA, was covalently attached onto magnetic poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (mPHEMA) beads for human serum albumin (HSA) adsorption from both aqueous solutions and human plasma. The mPHEMA beads, in the size range of 80 to 120 mum, were prepared by a modified suspension technique. Cibacron Blue F3GA molecules were incorporated on to the mPHEMA beads. The maximum amount of Cibacron Blue F3GA attachment was obtained as 68.3 mumol g(-1). HSA adsorption onto unmodified and Cibacron Blue F3GA-attached mPHEMA beads was investigated batchwise. The non-specific adsorption of HSA was very low (1.8 mg g(-1)). Cibacron Blue F3GA attachment onto the beads significantly increased the HSA adsorption (94.5 mg g(-1)). The maximum HSA adsorption was observed at pH 5.0. Higher HSA adsorption was observed from human plasma (138.3 mg HSA g(-1)). Desorption of HSA from Cibacron Blue F3GA-attached mPHEMA beads was obtained by using 0.1 M Tris/HCl buffer containing 0.5 M NaSCN. High desorption ratios (up to 98% of the adsorbed HSA) were observed. It was possible to re-use Cibacron Blue F3GA-attached mPHEMA beads without any significant decreases in their adsorption capacities. (C) 2004 Society of Chemical Industry.