Magnetically responsive nanoparticles were prepared from enzymatically hydrolysed starch and magnetite. Two different monoclonal antibodies were covalently coupled to the particles. The antibody-coupled particles were in the size range of 100-300 nm and had an iron content of about 60%. Using 100 micrograms of magnetic particles (coupled with monoclonal mouse anti-rat Ig kappa light chain antibody) a very high depletion of surface Ig positive cells (mostly B-cells) from one million rat peripheral blood mononuclear cells could be achieved. The separation efficiency was evaluated by flow cytofluorometric analysis. This technique permits the detection of a small number of surface Ig positive cells among 10,000 negative cells.