Cell lysis is the rupture of the cell membrane resulting in the release of cell contents, and the subsequent death of the cell. Cell lysis can occur naturally, for example, through a viral infection or osmosis. In research laboratories and in industry, cell lysis is often used to break open the cell and study its contents.
Cell lysis can be achieved through mechanical or chemical methods. Mechanical cell lysis techniques include high shear mixing, traditional homogenization, sonication, grinding, freeze/thaw cycles, and high pressure homogenization. Chemical cell lysis techniques include osmotic lysis, and the use of detergents, chelating agents, or chaotropic agents.
The success of a cell lysing process depends on several factors. Firstly, the process should be flexible, as different cells require different cell lysis strategies. The process should be relatively easy to perform, and result in a high yield in a short time. Lastly, results should be consistently reproducible and scalable.
Making Cell Lysis More Efficient
The first step in efficient cell lysis is choosing the correct method for your particular sample. What works for one type of cell may not work as well (or at all) for other cell types. You should also take your resources (time, budget, skill level of laboratory staff etc.) into account when deciding on a method.
Take the freeze/thaw method, for example. This method involves freezing a cell suspension and then allowing the material to thaw at room temperature. This causes the cells to swell and ultimately break as ice crystals form during the freezing process and then contract during thawing. Multiple cycles are often necessary, making the process quite time-consuming. While this method is suitable for lysing bacterial cells and algae, it is not very effective for harder plant materials, which may instead require a stronger mechanical force like a mortar and pestle or a tissue grinder.
DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers: Versatile and Effective
BEE International’s unique, modular technology allows you to gently rupture cells without damaging the valuable intracellular materials. You are able to control the pressure, allowing for rupture of a variety of cell types. No harsh chemicals are introduced into the process, and all results are 100% scalable to manufacturing.
For more information on cell disruption, download our free eBook: 7 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cell Lysis Method or contact us today!