Cell Lysis Sonication: Is It Better Than Homogenization?

Posted by David Shechter on Sep 1, 2016 12:30:00 PM

cell lysisWhat is Cell Lysis Sonication?

Sonication uses pulsed, high frequency sound waves to lyse cells. There are two kinds of commonly used sonication techniques:

  1. Direct sonication: A titanium probe is inserted into the sample vessel. Ultrasonic energy is transmitted directly from the probe into the sample, allowing for rapid processing. This unit is called a sonicator (click here for a quick demonstration).
  2. Indirect sonication: Can be performed with an ultrasonic bath or a cup horn sonicator. This method does not require a probe that comes into direct contact with the sample; thus lowering the possibility of cross contamination. The ultrasonic energy is transmitted through a bath of water into the sample vessels.

Both direct and indirect sonication are able to lyse cells through cavitation. This phenomenon occurs when a rapid pressure change causes “liquid-free zones” or cavities in a liquid. As these cavities collapse, shock waves are generated throughout the liquid, which causes the cells to rupture.

Limitations of Sonication

One disadvantage of cell lysis sonication is the generation of heat. To prevent excessive heat, the ultrasonic pulses are applied in short bursts to a sample that is immersed in an ice bath. This process can be time consuming, and sonication is only a viable option for small volumes.

Another drawback to sonication is that it does not lyse all cells equally. For example, cell walls are far more resistant to cell lysis sonication than cell membranes, making plant cells more difficult to rupture than animal cells.

Cell Lysis with DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers

De BEE high pressure homogenizers are uniquely suited to gently rupturing a wide variety of cells. Our proprietary technology allows you to control the process and vary the pressure according to the cell type. Cells are ruptured, but without disturbing the valuable intracellular material within.

Our high pressure homogenizers also make use of cavitation (just like cell lysis sonication) but we ALSO use the forces of shear and impact. Cell lysis is gentle but effective, allowing for better results in fewer passes. Best of all, our results are consistently scalable up to manufacturing volumes. We have several different high pressure homogenizer products for your laboratory, pilot plant or production facility.

Contact us today for a quote or to discuss your cell lysis needs.

Download our free eBook “7 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cell Lysis Method” to learn more about how to select the right cell lysis equipment for your application.

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