Pharmaceutical Equipment Manufacturers: Five Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Homogenizer

Posted by David Shechter on May 21, 2018 11:00:00 AM

pharmaceutical equipment manufacturers homogenizerBuying an automobile or house may be a complex process, but you often want to perform detailed research before making such a substantial purchase. You want to ensure your purchase has the capabilities you require, fits within your budget and offers a good investment.

For manufacturers of pharmaceutical equipment, doing research before buying a homogenizer or any other sizable item necessary for production is key to finding the right one. Though this process many seem time-consuming, you’ll end up with a product that best fits your needs and gives you the most benefits. Following are ten questions to ask before buying a homogenizer:

Why do I need one?

Though homogenizers are valuable tools for manufacturers in multiple industries, different models typically address different needs. For instance, maybe you need a homogenizer to mass-manufacture a product that has been approved for market. Or, perhaps you’re conducting research and development and need to disrupt yeast cells. At BEE International, we produce separate homogenizers for each phase of drug development. Make sure the product you choose is best suited to your specific business needs.

What differentiates one homogenizer from similar ones on the market?

In your research for a homogenizer, be sure to ask each manufacturer about their product’s specific capabilities and benefits. Their customer support personnel should be able to articulate any unique functions and/or specifications their products have and define ways it may be more cost-effective than competing products.

Does my product require a specific particle size?

To purchase a homogenizer which provides maximum laboratory output, you should ensure you know the required consistency in texture and size for your product to achieve safety and efficacy. Most pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, inhalants and anesthetics, need to be synthesized using a specific particle size. Many high-pressure homogenizers are able to produce emulsions, dispersions and suspensions at particle sizes of 100 µm or higher, but only a select few can achieve a size of down to 0.1 µm.

Which accessories are recommended and/or required for optimal performance?

Many times, a homogenizer without a lot of bells and whistles will perform the job for which you selected it well. However, some accessories are designed to offer benefits such as time savings, improved process accuracy and enhanced process efficiency. For example, deflector heads can facilitate homogenization of viscous material, generator probes can prevent cross-contamination and pre-assembled bead kits can make the process much easier. Check with each manufacturer to see if any specific accessories are needed for their homogenizing product to run at its highest possible level.

Do you have a demo machine we can test to see if your product meets our needs?

Before you purchase any homogenizer from any manufacturer, it’s important to try each one out to make sure it’s the best fit for your laboratory. For instance, if you handle high volumes of samples, you should try a homogenizer with a high motor capacity for optimal processing efficiency. If you have a desired mixing speed, you should examine homogenizers that let you easily achieve and maintain this speed or change it as necessary.

Other questions to ask when looking to purchase a homogenizer should center around company reputation, product warranties, level of customer service after purchase, user training and education, output capacity and ease of use. Taking the time to select the homogenizer best suited to your needs will be worth the effort.

BEE International: Trust Us with Your Homogenization Needs

At Bee International, we have extensive experience in the challenges our pharmaceutical customers face as they transition from concept, R&D, clinical trials and all-important FDA approval to manufacturing. Plus, we’re trusted by pharmaceutical researchers and laboratory managers around the world. Contact us today to learn more about our complete line of homogenizers.

For more information on the advantages of BEE homogenizers for the pharmaceutical industry, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Particle Size Reduction: Processes and Products

Posted by Deb Shechter on May 8, 2018 2:30:00 PM

particle size reductionBigger is not always better. For instance, many electronic gadgets that have come out over the past few years have a smaller, more streamlined design. Most people want to lose weight to become smaller. Also, I’m glad pests like spiders and cockroaches are as small as they are.

Multiple industries and manufacturers need to be able to reduce the size of particles to achieve their preferred end-product. It affects a product’s color, taste, chemical reaction, density and more. For example: reduced particle size enables creams and lotions to absorb into the skin more rapidly, which is extremely important in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

Key benefits of particle size reduction include:

  • Increased dissolution rate

  • Improved drug delivery

  • Cleaning product health and safety

  • Controlled rate of reaction

  • Greater sedimentation stability

  • Consistent product texture and appearance

  • Improved mineral processing 

Preferred Product for Particle Size Reduction

One of the most widely utilized methods for particle size reduction is high-pressure homogenization. It uses mechanical force to break down particles or droplets in a liquid into smaller and more uniform sizes, resulting in a dispersion, which is where fine particles of one substance are scattered throughout another substance. Dispersions can be further classified into solutions, suspensions and colloids, a mixture somewhere between a solution and a suspension.  

Some high-pressure homogenizers can reduce particle size to as small as a single-digit nanometer. Plus, they ensure the composition is equal throughout, and the overall molecular makeup of the sample isn’t compromised.

Selection Criteria

How do you know what homogenizer is best for your company’s specific needs? The first consideration is what type of product you need. Which one you select will vary based on whether you want to use it for a specific product or for more general use. identifying the key product(s) you want produce should help guide you in choosing the most suitable homogenizer.

Once you narrow down the product(s), you’ll want to decide what features and capabilities you want in a homogenizer. Depending on whether your product(s) and process requires mechanical forces (like shear, cavitation or impact), high pressure, temperature change or another parameter altogether, you should identify the technical operations needed to make sure you choose the right machine for your needs.

The BEE International Difference

Unlike a hammer mill which uses only one mechanical force (impact), BEE International’s patented homogenization technology utilizes all available mechanical forces. We synergistically combine and fine-tune all available mechanical forces, including turbulence, cavitation, shear, impact and process intensity, to produce the best possible product for you. In addition, we produce a tight distribution of small, uniform particles every time.

Depending on your product, benefits of our products include a longer shelf life, increased bioavailability, improved sensory characteristics and greater productivity along with lower manufacturing costs due to fewer passes. Our laboratory, pilot and industrial homogenizers all produce reliable and consistent particle size reduction. 

Contact us today to see how we can meet your homogenization needs! To learn more about how to achieve efficient and consistent particle size reduction, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Oil-in-Water and Water-in-Oil Emulsions: What's the Difference?

Posted by Deb Shechter on Apr 24, 2018 10:30:00 AM

oil in water and water in oil emulsionsYou’ve no doubt heard the phrase “Oil and water don’t mix.” It’s basically a way of saying certain items or people do not go well together. However, oil and water can mix with the right ingredients – specifically, emulsifiers. Emulsifiers prevent oil and water from separating by establishing a barrier that protects the droplets.

When oil and water are mixed powerfully, they form either oil-in-water (o/w) or water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions. In o/w emulsions, oil is dispersed in a continuous water phase, while in w/o emulsions, water droplets are dispersed in oil. The result of an emulsion of oil and water mix is depended on the volume fraction of both phases and the kind of emulsifier utilized. You can actually tell the difference between the two by measuring the electrical conductivity of the emulsion. If there is no conductivity, it’s an w/o emulsion.

Both o/w and w/o emulsions have unique applications and chemical properties, and you can better choose the type you want to use if you know more about these differences. In this blog, we’ll provide some characteristics of o/w and w/o emulsions and describe some of the differences between the two.

Oil-in-Water Emulsions

Used in moisturizing products and food products such as milk, mayonnaise and vinaigrette, o/w emulsions contain a low oil concentration. They are mixable with water, non-greasy, non-occlusive and will absorb water. The dispersion medium in these emulsions is water; o/w emulsifiers keep oil drops packed in water.

Water-in-Oil Emulsions

These emulsions are utilized in products including butter, margarine, cold cream and cod liver oil and are especially useful in products designed for dry or sensitive skin. Common w/o emulsifiers are sorbitan stearate, polyglyceryl oleate, lecithin, sorbitan monooleate and lanolin. Sometimes referred to as an inverse emulsion, w/o emulsions mix more easily with oils and have a high oil concentration. Producing w/o emulsions is more difficult than developing their o/w emulsions.

Following are three additional differences between o/w and w/o emulsions:

1. Suspended vs. continuous phase

The biggest difference between o/w and w/o emulsions is which phase is suspended and which is continuous. Oil and water are normally immiscible, but with proper mixing and stability agents, a permanent mixture, or emulsion, can be achieved. Smaller droplet sizes will enhance the effectiveness of either system; this may translate to increased bioavailability in pharmaceutical products or extended shelf life in food/beverage products.

2. Type of product that can be created

The chemical nature of an o/w emulsion is distinct from that of a w/o emulsion; each is most effectively used in different products. O/w emulsions are the basis of water-based products; in the pharmaceutical industry, they can be found in creams like moisturizers and topical steroid products. In contrast, w/o emulsions make up oil-based products like sunscreen and most makeup.

3. How to achieve stability 

Stability is key when considering an emulsion synthesis technique; without it, the two phases will separate, and the product will have lower function. All emulsions require an emulsifier to assist with stability. O/w emulsions typically require more than one emulsifier, and they can be acquired separately or in a pre-mixed cocktail. In contrast, while w/o emulsions only require one emulsifier, there is a limited number from which to select because the hydrophilic balance must be in a narrow range. 

Emulsions, emulsifiers, homogenization and other terms can be confusing, but at BEE International, we can steer you in the right direction based on your specific business needs. Simply contact us to learn more!

Check out our FREE animation on how our technology can be customized for your application for efficient and consistent results:

New Call-to-action

High-pressure Homogenizers: Enhancing Oil Emulsification

Posted by Deb Shechter on Mar 30, 2018 10:30:00 AM

high-pressure homogenizersYou might not think your daily life involves emulsions unless you work in a scientific field. However, emulsions and the products of which they are a part are found in a variety of industries, from pharmaceuticals and food manufacturing to metal processing and more. For example, milk and butter are emulsions found in daily life, and emulsions are responsible for enhancing both the textural and visual properties of medicated creams.

So what exactly is an emulsion? Basically, it’s a mixture of oily and watery liquids. There are two primary kinds of emulsions: oil suspended in water (o/w) and water suspended in oil (w/o). Both are inherently unstable and require force and functional chemicals, otherwise known as emulsifiers, to break apart oil droplets in order to mix with watery liquid. Following are three main differences between o/w and w/o emulsions: 

Suspended vs. continuous phase

Probably the most basic yet significant difference between o/w and w/o emulsions is which phase is suspended and which is continuous. Oil and water are normally immiscible, but a permanent mixture or emulsion can be achieved with the use of proper mixing and stability agents. In this case, smaller droplet sizes improve the effectiveness of either system, which may translate to increased bioavailability in pharmaceutical products or extended shelf-life in food/beverage products.

Type of product that can be created

O/w emulsions are the basis for water-based products; in the pharmaceutical industry, they can be found in creams like moisturizers and topical steroid products. W/o emulsions, though, form oil-based products such as sunscreen and many types of makeup.

Method used to achieve stability

All emulsions, whether w/o or o/w, require an emulsifier to assist with stability. O/w emulsions typically require more than one emulsifier, and they can be acquired separately or in a pre-mixed cocktail. In contrast, while w/o emulsions need one emulsifier, there are a limited number from which to select because the hydrophilic balance must be in a narrow range (3-6).

Again, due to the fact that water and oil are immiscible, powerful mixing is essential to conducting oil emulsification. Therefore, specialized machines such as high-pressure homogenizers, which work by forcing a sample through a narrow space and employing multiple forces, including turbulence and cavitation in addition to high pressure, are preferred. They not only impart high shear but also are able to reduce particle sizes much more efficiently than other blending and emulsification methods. In fact, high-pressure homogenizers can reduce droplet size to under one µm, produce more consistent emulsions and reduce creaming rate, thereby boosting the shelf-life of the emulsions.

Additional benefits of high-pressure homogenization for oil emulsification include production of stable emulsions, improved product consistency, shelf-life, texture, color and flavor and the ability to overcome the resistance caused by two immiscible liquids. Also, most high-pressure homogenizers currently manufactured offer reduced maintenance and reduced vibration and noise.

BEE International: Bringing the Benefits of Homogenization Straight to You

We know there are other providers of homogenization equipment, but at BEE International, our expertise, industry experience and level of customer service place us above the rest. Whatever your business needs, we have the product(s) to meet and exceed them. For more information, please contact us today.

For more information on how to achieve efficient and consistent results for your application, check out our FREE animation:

New Call-to-action

Lessons on Selecting a Laboratory Homogenizer

Posted by David Shechter on Mar 26, 2018 2:10:06 PM

Top view of businessman legs choosing his way-747702-edited.jpegMost of us have experienced the activity (or drudgery) of purchasing an automobile, and the process of selecting one can be extremely tedious. There are a wide array of manufacturers, models, colors and sizes from which to choose and even more options within those choices.

Fortunately, selecting a laboratory homogenizer that best meets your business needs doesn’t have to be as complicated. If you purchase a model that accommodates your required applications, it should be able to serve your homogenization needs for the long-term. Even though all laboratory homogenizers can accomplish emulsions, cell disruptions and more, understanding the commercially available homogenizing methods can make it simpler to determine the right homogenizer for a particular application.

Main Methods of Homogenization

The primary homogenization methods include ultrasonic, mechanical and high-pressure. Ultrasonic homogenizers, or sonicators, are used in cell lysis and particle size reduction applications. They are best utilized for samples which are incredibly difficult to disrupt, including tough animal tissues, spores, soil samples and liposomes. Although they are often used to process small samples in suspension and do not require pre-grinding or cutting, ultrasonic homogenizers generate heat, which can harm temperature-sensitive samples.

Mechanical homogenizers work by using pressure (shearing) and/or force to disrupt cells. They produce consistent results quickly and are able to alter a sample’s physical structure while maintaining its chemical composition. The mechanical homogenization method provides for easy scalability and especially well-suited for animal tissues and cells.

Probably the most commonly utilized method, high-pressure homogenizers have the capability to lyse cells and create emulsions, thereby enabling a longer product shelf life and an even distribution of active ingredients. They are one of the most efficient fluid processing systems for cell disruption and particle size reduction, especially for applications which require minimum particle sizes and homogenous mixtures. High-pressure homogenizers enable the study of tissues, cells and more.

Factors to consider when choosing a brand and model of laboratory homogenizer include:

  • Sample types.
  • Maximum operating pressure. 
  • Mixing speed. 
  • Processing setup. 
  • Processing range.  

Benefits of BEE International

At BEE International, our laboratory high-pressure homogenizers were designed to provide formulation scientists with more experimentation options and capabilities for emulsions, dispersions, cell rupture and liposomes. Plus, they offer a multitude of benefits and features, such as operating pressures of up to 45,000psi/3,100bar, 100 percent guaranteed scalability of results, lifetime training for new employees and students, CE and cGMP compliance and a one-year factory warranty.

Following is a list of the laboratory homogenizers we offer:

  • Nano DeBEE Laboratory Homogenizer - The smallest in our line of laboratory homogenizers, this cost-effective benchtop unit offers a reliable and consistent process for virtually any laboratory setting. With features including a state-of-the art reservoir for small volumes, an adjustable process pressure gauge, a heat exchanger and a back- pressure gauge, this is a popular choice for an entry-level laboratory homogenizer.
  • Micro DeBEE Laboratory Homogenizer – This air-operated, compact, benchtop unit is suitable for a broad range of applications, including cell disruption, particle size reduction, work with polymers and liposomes and the creation of nano and micro emulsions and dispersions. This model offers a bit more capacity and power than the Nano DeBEE Laboratory Homogenizer.
  • Mini DeBEE Laboratory Homogenizer - This cost-effective unit is suitable for both laboratory and research and development work as well as pilot plant and industrial production. It offers the same features as the Nano and Micro DeBEE Laboratory Homogenizers but with added capacity and power. Other features of this model include pressures up to 45,000 psi, 100 percent guaranteed scalability of results and a programmable logic controller a digital display.

Please contact us today to learn more about our laboratory homogenizers or any other homogenizers in our product line. No matter which model you select, they all meet our high standard of quality and offer features easily configured to meet your application needs and processing goals. 

For more information on cell lysis and the multiple methods that could be what your application needs, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Rotor-Stator vs. High-Pressure Homogenizers: What You Need to Know

Posted by David Shechter on Mar 2, 2018 2:30:00 PM

high-pressure homogenizerIn a world where there are so many different types of products and so many versions of each, it’s easy to get confused. Sometimes I don’t want to spend five minutes in the toothpaste aisle looking through 35 different varieties of basically the same thing!

Even in the homogenization industry, there are multiple models: ultrasonic, rotor-stator bead mill, high-pressure and others. In this blog, I’ll detail rotor-stator and high-pressure homogenizers and list benefits and challenges of each.

Rotor-Stator Homogenizers

Rotor-stator homogenizers, also referred to as high-shear mixers or colloid mills, are designed to reduce particle size through hydraulic and mechanical shear and cavitation. Originally designed to make dispersions and emulsions, this type of homogenizer works through the rotation of a rotor inside a stator, which creates a suction effect. Mixing occurs when a sample is drawn in through one of the mixing heads while the blades rotate and is then expelled at a high velocity through an opening in the stator. The combination of high rpm from the rotor and exit through tiny slots allows the sample to be mechanically sheared into very small particles.

This type of homogenizer is best utilized for biological (plant and animal) tissue and processes liquid samples in the 0.01 ml-20-liter range. It is most often utilized in the chemical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries to create suspensions, emulsions, lyosols and other products through solid-liquid suspension, liquid-liquid emulsification and homogenization, particle size reduction, power-liquid dispersion and other applications.

Though high pressure-homogenizers employ high amounts of energy to form pressure differentials to homogenize ingredients, their rotor-stator counterparts manipulate ingredients though a shearing action. They generate minimal heat during operation and are able to homogenize fairly soft tissue. However, working with aerosols and foams can be difficult with this type of homogenizer.

High-pressure Homogenizers

Similar to liquid mixers, high-pressure homogenizers work by forcing cell suspensions through a very narrow channel under pressure. They use force (such as turbulence and cavitation) and high pressure to create a consistent and uniform sample. Primarily utilized for cell lysis or creating emulsions when large volumes are being processed, high-pressure homogenizers can be used for multiple types of bacteria, yeast and mycelia. Following are some of the many benefits high-pressure homogenizers provide:

  • Ability to process large volumes of liquid reproducibly and methodically. 
  • Consistency in composition of products.
  • Controlled turbulent flow and cavitation. 
  • Increased rate of dissolution.
  • Low risk of product contamination. 
  • Uniform particle size reduction.
  • Greater stability of final product.
  • Customizable forces to optimize results.
  • Consistent results in fewer passes.
  • Accommodation of a wide range of sample sizes.  
  • Decreased cost.

As you can see, high-pressure homogenizers offer enterprises a lot of benefits. However, it’s important to note that they can’t handle large particles or high-fiber materials and aren’t the most suitable for high-temperature materials. Plus, they can be large and very heavy.

BEE International: Taking the Confusion Out of Homogenization

BEE International offers homogenizers that are both high-quality and reliable. Our wide variety of laboratory, pilot-plant and industrial scale models can help you achieve high quality applications, and we’re trusted by researchers around the world for our laboratory homogenizers and customer support. Contact us today to learn more.

For more information on what you need to know about homogenization and how to achieve efficient and consistent results, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Top Tips for Selecting a Tissue Homogenizer

Posted by David Shechter on Feb 27, 2018 2:30:00 PM

tissue homogenizerThe first thing many consumers point to when they hear the term “homogenization” is milk. August Gaulin received a patent for his homogenizer in 1899 and exhibited it to “treat” milk in 1900 at the World’s Fair in Paris.

Homogenization works by forcing the sample through a narrow space, and multiple forces  –– including turbulence and cavitation in addition to high pressure –– can act on the sample to create a high quality product. It can be used on many different types of material, such as plant, food, soil, tissue and more. In this blog, we’ll focus on tissue homogenization and what to consider when selecting a homogenizer to fit your specific business needs. 

In summary, tissue homogenization is a process employed to prepare tissue samples for further study, research or development. It involves the lysing (breaking apart) of cells to release their contents, from proteins and small molecules to DNA and RNA and more. The type of cell being lysed often dictates the homogenization device or technique that is used to complete the task. Homogenization is not only usually the simplest and safest approach to preparing such contents, it also is one of the quickest and most cost-effective methods. 

Techniques for Tissue Homogenization 

Knowing what techniques are best utilized for tissue homogenization can make choosing the right product a much easier proposition. These four techniques include chemical homogenization, freeze-thawing, and mechanical and ultrasonic homogenization. 

Chemical homogenization is best for small samples because the cost of materials used can be high for industrial-sized products. Freeze-thawing requires multiple cycles and a lot of time, and ultrasonic homogenization is only appropriate for tissues and molecules that aren’t affected by the temperature increase resulting from the high amount of heat it generates. The mechanical homogenization method can easily be scaled and offers time-efficient and consistent results. Overall, mechanical and ultrasonic homogenization are the two most commonly-used techniques.

High pressure homogenization allows for the forces of turbulence, cavitation, shear and impact to be used simultaneously to produce the best end result, even with delicate tissues. However, the lysate can be of higher quality and more even consistency when run through top-shelf equipment. 

Following is a list of things to consider when selecting a tissue homogenizer:

  • Toughness of tissue - Not all homogenizers can process more fibrous tissue, and those that can typically require a lengthy processing time.
  • Sample size and type – Large samples usually take more time to homogenize. Animal and plant tissues, yeast and bacteria typically require more rigorous methods of disruption.
  • Available components – Consider the product’s motor size, speed control and range, weight and dimensions and processing range.
  • Sample safety – The homogenizer used should be able to rapidly release the protein from its intracellular compartment into a buffer that isn’t harmful to the biological activity of the protein of interest. 
  • Uniformity of samples – The selected homogenizer should have the capability to quickly and safely produce consistent samples.


Before making a final decision on a homogenizer purchase, it’s a good idea to consult with businesses and/or laboratories with needs similar to yours. Another good idea is to request a demonstration from a couple manufacturers and compare the speed, cost and automation capabilities of the products

BEE International: The Top Choice for Tissue Homogenization

BEE International offers a number of high quality, high pressure homogenizers to achieve your goals. With our homogenizers, you will reap the benefits of our process, which includes:

  • Tighter distribution of smaller particles
  • Maximum particle size reduction in fewer passes
  • Increased manufacturing efficiency and reduced cost
To learn more about our line of homogenizers and how we can help you achieve your business goals, please contact us today. If you're looking for more information on how to lyse tissue cells, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action 

How Does RNA Extraction Homogenization Work? 

Posted by Deb Shechter on Jan 25, 2018 11:30:00 AM

RNA extraction homogenizationMany people are familiar with the term “DNA,” which is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Officially named deoxyribonucleic acid, it a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.

Not as well known outside the field of science is RNA or ribonucleic acid. RNA, a type of nucleic acid containing only one strand (DNA is primarily double-stranded), provides the link between the genetic information through protein synthesis. Procuring high-grade RNA, which is accomplished through a process called RNA extraction (or isolation), is the first step for a multitude of molecular techniques often utilized in gene expression including microarray analysis, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), digital PCR, northern analysis and cDNA library construction.

RNA Extraction

Using a powerful chaotropic salt solution, RNA extraction purifies RNA from biological samples by quickly disrupting cells or tissue to release the nucleic acids from the cells. These released RNAs are valuable in providing details on which genes are expressed (used to make products), to what degree the genes are active, how they work to regulate each other via small, regulatory RNAs and which structural RNAs (i.e. rRNAs, mRNAs and tRNAs) are produced.

RNA extraction can be very challenging due to the difficulty of isolating RNA that is intact. This is in large part because of ribonuclease (RNase) enzymes found in cells, enzymes which are copious in the environment and can swiftly degrade RNA. Therefore, it’s vital that it be done cautiously and in a timely manner.

Homogenization – Organic RNA Extraction

The disruption of cell and tissue samples, often achieved by homogenization, is a required part of extracting RNAs and preventing their degradation. In fact, samples aren’t guarded from RNA degradation unless they are entirely homogenized. Although homogenization is especially functional for use with soft tissues, the method used should be based on the sort of cell or tissue. For instance, plant and animal tissues, yeast and bacteria typically require more exacting disruption methods. Either way, the sample or tissue should be kept frozen until it is ready to be homogenized.

Utilizing homogenization for RNA extraction is especially beneficial because it enables processing to be effectively and repetitively processed in only seconds, thereby eliminating heat production. Its force and high pressure produce consistent and uniform samples, and it can process both small and large samples. Plus, homogenizers are scalable and compatible with many sample types, including those with tough cell walls.

BEE International – Offering Simple Solutions for Complex Business Needs

We offer a number of top-of-the-line high-pressure homogenizers to achieve your business goals, and our scalable equipment is easy to use and produces better results in fewer passes. In addition, we’re globally recognized by laboratory managers and researchers for our high-quality products and excellent customer support. Contact us today to discuss your homogenization needs.

For more information on how to achieve efficient and consistent particle size reduction, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Chemical Methods for Cell Disruption

Posted by David Shechter on Jan 16, 2018 11:30:00 AM

cell disruptionCell disruption is used throughout many industries, from cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to food and biotechnology. As a method or process employed to release biological molecules or other materials from inside a cell, these industries commonly utilize it to study intercellular materials or use the materials located inside a given cell. It can be achieved through a range of methods and technologies, either mechanical or non-mechanical.

The method of cell disruption selected depends on the product, scale and cell type and must obtain the necessary components effectively and reliably without disturbing any of its components. Though high-pressure homogenization is the most common procedure for cell disruption, chemical methods including osmotic lysis, surfactants and chaotropic agents also are prevalent. In this blog, we’ll go into more detail on each of these methods.

Osmotic Lysis

In osmotic lysis (or shock), cells are suspended in a hypotonic extracellular environment, usually a dilute sucrose solution, causing them to take on water, swell and burst. It’s often applied to lyse mammalian blood cells and for RNA extraction, although it is sometimes used to disrupt microbial cells. Due to its low efficiency, however, it is one of the less commonly used chemical methods of cell disruption.

Surfactants

Surfactants (surface acting agents), often called detergents, are compounds that lower surface tension and disrupt the distinct interface between hydrophobic and hydrophilic systems. Their hydrophilic head and hydrophobic tail enable them to insert into and then disperse biological membranes. They are used at fairly low concentrations, and in order to disrupt bacterial cells, they must be used with lysozyme.

Detergents used for disrupting cells are divided three categories depending on their electrical charge: anionic, cationic and non-ionic. All three directly damage the cell wall or membrane, although the best detergents can lyse cells and solubilize proteins. Surfactant cell lysis may be used with ultrasonic processing in order to facilitate disruption.

Surfactants aren’t used for cell disruption more often because they denature proteins in the process and have different impacts on biological systems depending on which detergent is utilized and what its concentration is. No one detergent can be employed for all applications, and some of those selected may disturb downstream processing steps further in the process.

Chaotropic Agents

Chaotropic agents such as urea, guanidine and sodium iodide are capable of bringing some hydrophobic compounds into aqueous solutions by disrupting the structure of water, making it a less hydrophilic environment, and weakening the hydrophobic interactions among solute molecules. Used in very high concentrations, they are like surfactants because they break non-covalent interactions. Unlike surfactants, though, chaotropic agents disrupt the weak interactions between molecules and are sometimes used with detergents to denature and emulsify biological systems.

These techniques are usually only viable at laboratory scale due to increased consumption of energy, chemicals and water and can be very costly for use in large-scale manufacturing. Conditions during the chemical disruption process aren’t always uniform among samples, making it a risky proposition. In addition, some components may cause the denaturation of protein, resulting in a damaged end product.

High-pressure Homogenization

In high-pressure homogenization, a cell disruption method most often used for soft, solid tissues, samples are forced through a narrow space while pressure is applied to them. As the temperature increases, so does the rate of cell disruption. Although they can be used for small batches, high-pressure homogenizers are scalable and can easily adapt to different sample sizes to accommodate increased demand. They not only provide a high level of disruption efficiency but also can be used for the recovery of recombinant proteins.

BEE International: Meeting the Need for Mechanical Cell Disruption

At BEE International, our high pressure homogenizing technology allows you to gently rupture cells without damaging their valuable intracellular materials. You can control the pressure, enabling rupture of a variety of cell types. No harsh chemicals are introduced into the process, and all results are 100 percent scalable to meet your manufacturing needs.

To learn more about cell disruption and how our line of high-pressure homogenizers can help you achieve your goals, please contact us today.

For more information on cell lysis methods and key factors you need to consider when choosing one, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Suspension vs. Colloid: How Do They Differ?

Posted by Tal Shechter on Dec 20, 2017 11:30:00 AM

suspension vs colloidAs we’ve outlined in recent blogs, homogenization is a process utilized for particle size reduction and works by employing mechanical force to break down particles or droplets in a liquid into smaller and more uniform sizes. The result of homogenization is a dispersion, wherein fine particles of one substance are scattered throughout another substance. Furthermore, dispersions are able to be classified by the sizes of these scattered particles: solutions, suspensions and colloids. In this blog, we’re focusing on the difference between suspension and colloids.

Suspensions

Simply defined as a heterogeneous mixture of two substances in which one is dispersed into the other, suspensions involve particles larger than those found in solutions, typically over 1,000 nm. The bigger particles of a suspension usually settle or separate out of a mixture upon standing or are able to be filtered out, although not through filter paper. Gravity is able to pull the visible particles in a suspension down if undisturbed, and they will stay that way unless being actively mixed. Examples of suspensions include oil and water, dust or soot in air, sand and water and muddy water.

Colloids

Although a heterogeneous mixture of two substances like suspensions, colloids involve particles from 1-1,000 nm that do not separate upon standing and cannot be separated by filtration. The particles in a colloid land in size between those in a solution and a suspension and may be solid, liquid or gas. The two parts in every colloid mixture are its particles and the dispersing medium, and the particles are spread evenly in in the medium, which can also be solid, liquid or gas. Examples of colloids are foams (shaving cream, Styrofoam), gels (gelatin, jelly), emulsions (mayonnaise, lotion), aerosols (fog, insecticide spray, smoke) and sols (shampoo, gemstones).

Even though the particles in a colloid are very small in size, they can be seen through a process called the Tyndall Effect, the effect of light scattering in colloidal dispersion while showing no light in a true solution. This effect is used to determine whether a mixture is a true solution or a colloid.

Colloid mills, like homogenizers, are able to process particle reduction formulations, although each is preferential for certain applications. They are best used for samples comprised of solids immersed in a liquid suspension or a liquid suspended in another liquid because they can enhance the stability and/or reduce the size of suspended particles.

Overview

In summary, following are some of the main differences between a suspension and colloid:

  • Particles in a suspension are usually more than 1,000 nm, while those in a colloid range from 1-1,000 nm.
  • Unlike those in a suspension, particles in a colloid do not separate when sitting still.
  • The particles in a suspension may be separated by filtration unlike those in a colloid.
  • Colloids are able to scatter light, but suspensions cannot transmit light.
  • Particles in a suspension can be seen by the naked eye, but those in a colloid must be viewed using a light microscope.

BEE International: The Clear Choice for High-Pressure Homogenizers

At BEE International, we not only offer a multitude of high-pressure homogenizers to handle almost any task in a laboratory, pilot plant or industrial setting, we help you sort through the technical jargon to find equipment that best addresses your specific needs. Our line of equipment is suitable for virtually every industry and can work in just about any environment, letting you focus on other important projects. To learn more about our technology and products, please contact us today!

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can break down particles in the best way possible, download our free eBook “How to Achieve Efficient & Consistent Particle Size Reduction” today:

New Call-to-action