Magnetic poly(2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate) [mPHEMA] beads were prepared by suspension polymerization of HEMA in the presence of Fe(3)O(4) nano-powder. Cibacron Blue F3GA was covalently immobilized to the mPHEMA beads via nucleophilic substitution reaction between chloride of its triazine ring and hydroxyl groups of HEMA under alkaline conditions. The mPHEMA/Cibacron Blue F3GA beads (100-140 mu m in diameter) carrying 68.3 mu mol Cibacron Blue F3GA per gram polymer were used for beta-casein adsorption studies. Adsorption studies were performed under different conditions in a batch system (i.e., pH beta-casein initial concentration, temperature, and ionic strength) and then in a magnetically stabilized fluidized bed (MSFB) system. The swelling ratio of the mPHEMA was 62.1%. The maximum adsorption capacity for batch system was 20.2% lower as compared to the value obtained in MSFB. The mPHEMA/Cibacron Blue F3GA beads could be repeatedly applied for beta-casein adsorption without significant losses in the adsorption capacity. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.