4 Techniques in Cell Homogenization

Posted by David Shechter on Jul 6, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Cell HomogenizationCell homogenization, also known as cell micronization or cell fractionation, is the action of reducing the particle size of molecules to facilitate even distribution and emulsification of liquids, creams, or other mediums. This process is extremely common and is used in a number of growing industries: chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, cosmetic, and food.

In the world of cell homogenization, there are several techniques that are commonly used to achieve this task. All of the methods involve encouraging the cells to lyse, or break apart. Cell homogenization can be achieved through various methods, including mechanical disruption, liquid homogenization, sonication, or manual grinding. Continue reading for a brief overview of each method of cell homogenization.

Mechanical Disruption

Mechanical disruption involves the use of rotating blades. These blades work to grind and disperse cells, and they are most effective at homogenizing tissues such as liver.  Rotor-stator homogenizers are one of the best homogenizing tools used in mechanical disruption and can homogenize samples in the volumes from 0.01 milliliters to up to 20 liters, depending on the type of motor that is used. Sample loss is typically minimal, and small amounts of samples and tissues can easily be homogenized using this method.

Liquid Homogenization

Liquid homogenization is the most widely used cell disruption technique, especially with small volumes and cultured cells. In this method, cells are lysed by the action of being forced through a small space, which acts to shear the cell membranes. There are several types of liquid homogenizers on the market, including Potter-Elvehjem homogenizers, french presses, and the dounce homogenizer.

Sonication

Sonication is a type of physical disruption used to lyse cells. This method uses high frequency sound waves to lyse cells, bacteria, and other types of tissue. The sound waves are delivered via a probe that is immersed in the liquid cell suspension. This method, while common, is often time consuming and is best suited for volumes of less than 100 mL.

Manual Grinding

Manual grinding, while one of the most time consuming methods of cell homogenization, is also the most common. In this method, a mortar and pestle is used to manually grind cells. While not suitable for extremely large volumes, this method is the most effective at breaking apart plant tissue cells.

BEE International offers a wide variety of high pressure homogenizers to meet the needs of virtually any industry. Our technology is well suited for nano emulsions, cell lysis, uniform particle reduction, and other related applications.

Contact us today to learn more about how our line of homogenizers can help with your company’s needs.

Also, be sure to check out our FREE eBook on 7 key factors to consider when choosing a cell lysis method

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Sonication Cell Lysis: How Does it Compare to Homogenization

Posted by Tal Shechter on Mar 9, 2017 12:30:00 PM

sonication cell lysisHomogenization, also known as micronization or particle size reduction, is an important process step that is utilized in a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, biotech, cosmetic, and food. With benefits like improved taste, texture, and appearance, its no wonder that more and more industries are looking to purchase a homogenizer for their manufacturing needs!

However, before purchasing your next homogenizer, it is important not only to know what your desired end use is, but the capabilities of the homogenizers in today’s marketplace. One question that is frequently asked regards the capabilities of homogenizers versus a sonicator. If you are interested in learning more about sonication cell lysis and how it compares to homogenization, you are in the right place! Continue reading to learn more about sonication cell lysis, how it compares to homogenization, and what BEE International has to offer in the way of high quality, high pressure homogenization equipment.

Sonication is defined as the act of applying sound energy to agitate particles in a sample. It is used for various purposes, including cell lysis, and it is a very powerful technology with both chemical and physical effects. Sonication serves multiple purposes, and is often used for the production of nanoparticles, such as nanoemulsions, as well as nanocrystals, liposomes, wax emulsions, and extractions of compounds such as plant oils and antioxidants.

Sonication works to lyse cells very quickly, with most methods taking between 15 seconds and 2 minutes. The intensity of sonication is quite easy to adjust, allowing for gentle or abrupt disruption of cell membranes. The temperature and length of sonication can also be adjusted.

Homogenization, on the other hand, involves the forcing of cells or tissue suspensions through a narrow space, which shears the cell membranes. Due to the high pressures associated with homogenization, fewer passes are needed to completely disrupt the cells, making homogenization a quicker (and oftentimes easier) choice for the lysing of cells.

BEE International offers a variety of homogenization equipment to suit virtually any need. Our homogenizers are suitable for laboratory and research & development use, as well as pilot plant and industrial use. Our homogenizers also offer the following features and benefits:

  • Easy to clean with CIP (Clean in Place) technology
  • Variable operating pressure from 5,000-45,000 psi
  • Modular design for lower cost replacement parts
  • PLC control and monitoring for simple push-button operation

Please contact us today to learn more about the homogenization equipment that we have to offer. We look forward to working with you to optimize the homogenization process for your industry.

For more information on cell lysis methods and how to choose the right one, download our FREE eBook:New Call-to-action

High Pressure Homogenization or Sonication - Comparing Two Methods

Posted by David Shechter on Feb 22, 2016 12:30:00 PM

high-pressure-homogenization-or-sonication-comparing-two-methods.jpgMost laboratories that work on a molecular scale require cell disruption to access valuable intracellular proteins. Homogenization is commonly used for this purpose, largely due to its ease in technique and effective results. However, multiple types of homogenizers exist and the various options can be quite intimidating for the consumer. In this edition of the BEE blog, we analyze two types of homogenization, high pressure (mechanical) and sonication (ultrasonic), for their roles in the cell disruption process.

Analysis of nucleic acids, proteins, and other intracellular contents begins with their preparation. This occurs in two steps:

  1. Isolation of individual cells from tissues
  2. Lysis of the cells to access molecules of interest

The technique you select to do this must be powerful enough to break through tough exterior cell walls, yet sensitive enough so as not to destroy the tissue sample.

High pressure homogenization uses force (such as turbulence and cavitation) alongside high pressure to create a consistent and uniform sample. Because of its powerful pressure, high pressure homogenization is well-matched with organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and fungus, whose tough cell walls need to be lysed. Some high-quality homogenizers are customizable and can therefore break the cell wall without damaging the intracellular components, while others are better suited for less sensitive samples. In contrast, along with force, ultrasonic homogenization uses ultrasonic sound waves to easily and quickly homogenize a sample. Ultrasonic homogenization is matched well to individual cells, as it may not be powerful enough to disrupt entire tissues. (1) Additionally, ultrasonic homogenization is good for small samples, while high pressure homogenization can easily handle the volume of larger samples.

The product you select for your laboratory will ultimately depend on your downstream applications and the cell types you are using. Either way, you will be well-served to select a homogenizer that is flexible to meet the various needs of a laboratory. There are plenty of companies on the market to select your equipment from; however, the lysate can be of higher quality and more even consistency when run through top-shelf equipment, most frequently in the form of a homogenizer.

BEE International Technologies is trusted by researchers around the world for both our laboratory homogenizers and our associated customer support. Cell lysis is just one of a variety of applications for BEEI homogenizers; nano/micro emulsions, lipids, suspensions, and dispersions are also easily achievable. Additionally, the homogenizer processes can be controlled to suit your product, which will allow you to customize to your cell type. And finally, the equipment is easy to use, produces higher yield in less time, and achieves results that are reproducible and scalable.

Learn about how to make your cell lysis protocol more effective by looking at our laboratory homogenizers.

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Cell Lysis Snapshot: Sonication

Posted by Deb Shechter on Jul 9, 2015 12:30:00 PM

cell-lysis-snapshot-sonicationThere are several methods used in life science laboratories to break open cells (a.k.a. achieve cell lysis) and access the materials within (e.g. DNA, proteins, organelles, proteins, DNA, mRNA, etc.). One such method is sonication. 

What is Sonication?

Sonication breaks open cells via the process of sonochemistry. A metal probe is immersed in the sample containing the cells. A power source attached to the probe, which generates sound energy typically in the 20-50kHz range.

This sound energy is then converted via the ultrasonic probe into mechanical energy, which causes an implosion of tiny bubbles in the sample. This is known as “cavitation”, and is what ultimately triggers cell rupture and enables cell lysis.

Note that another, somewhat less common application of sonication is by using an ultrasonic bath instead of an ultrasonic probe. 

Limitations of Sonication

While sonication is a common method for achieving cell lysis, it is not without drawbacks and limitations; some of which are significant. Here is a snapshot of some of these weaknesses: 

  • Accessibility: Because it unleashes a violent implosion of “bubbles” in the cell culture sample – increased temperatures can result in denaturing proteins. As such, it is not suitable for less resistant cells. 
  • Efficiency: Sonication may require numerous short runs for larger samples, and therefore may be inefficient.
  • Costs: Because of the added time investment and the risk damaging the cell wall, relative to other methods sonication is not a cost-effective process, and is not an in-line process. 
  • Yield: Sonication can lead to variations in yield, due to the nature of random vibrations. This can impede the ability to develop a consistent manufacturing protocol.
  • Contamination: Sonication generates free radicals, which can react with other molecules and cause contamination. 
  • Configuration: Sonication equipment must be optimized (time, power) for each cell type. This can be inefficient and lead to added time and costs.  

BEE High Pressure Homogenizers

Researchers in life science laboratories who want to avoid these drawbacks and limitations of sonication are invited to learn more about BEE International’s High Pressure Homogenizers, which are suitable for different cell disruption strategies (e.g. gentle, harsh). They are also efficient and deliver high yields in less time, and scale to allow researchers to go from small samples to larger clinical trials, but without impeding the ability to reproduce results.  

Learn more about BEE International’s High Pressure Homogenizers by clicking here. To find out more about other cell lysis methods, check out our latest eBook "7 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cell Lysis Method" today!

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