Unless you’re in the homogenizer-making business (like we are), you might not realize the vast variety of homogenizers that exist. Homogenizers come in all shapes and sizes, from small, handheld whisks to large, industrial machines that exceed the size of some cars! Depending on the desired effect, as well as the volume and consistency of the sample being processed, researchers and manufacturers choose certain types of homogenizers to use over others; one such example is the tissue tearor. Take a look at the three most common questions people have about tissue tearors, along with our answers:
What is a Tissue Tearor?
There are three basic kinds of homogenizers: mechanical, ultrasonic and pressure homogenizers. A tissue tearor is a mechanical homogenizer (specifically a rotor-stator one) that is used to homogenize soft tissue samples.
How Does a Tissue Tearor Work?
As a rotor-stator homogenizer, a tissue tearor uses a quickly spinning blade (rotor) inside a fixed shaft (stator) to facilitate the lysing of cells, as well as the homogenization of soft tissue samples. The rotor-stator unit (probe) is attached to a motor and can be changed according to the size and type of sample being processed, with different rotor diameters, lengths and blade tips offering different effects. As the rotor rotates within the stator, the resulting suction force pulls the sample (and the liquid in which it has been placed) up and and back out through openings within the stator, effectively shearing the sample. In addition, the rapid collision of the solid blade with the fast-moving liquid/sample mixture creates a change in pressure that leads to the formation of vapor bubbles. These gas-filled cavities expand and eventually collapse, causing a shock wave that further breaks apart the sample in a process known as cavitation. Between the shearing and cavitation forces, tissue tearors are well-suited to homogenize samples with a viscosity up to approximately 10,000 centipoises (such as molasses or syrup).
What are the Drawbacks of Tissue Tearors?
Most tissue tearors are best-suited to processing liquid samples up to 1 liter in volume and must be matched to the type of tissue being processed since using too much or too thick of a sample could degrade the homogenizing process altogether. Furthermore, using too small or too large of a tissue homogenizer with the wrong type of probe tip (flat bottom vs. sawtooth) could lead to increased processing times and additional heat generation, thus compounding sample degradation and leading to ineffective homogenization, as well.
Have More Questions?
Of course, these are just a few of the initial questions you might have while learning about homogenizers and their applications. If you have more, please contact our team here at BEE International. We can help you consider the pros and cons of all homogenizing systems so that you are able to choose the right and most affordable equipment for your own unique needs.
Feel free to also download our complimentary eBook, "7 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cell Lysis Method," for additional information about cell lysis and tissue homogenization.