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Wattage and Amplitude for Ultrasonic Homogenizers

08 June 2017

The wattage used by an ultrasonic homogenizer operating at constant amplitude can vary during processing. This happens because the resistance to the movement of the probe determines how much power needs to be delivered to maintain the desired amplitude. The amount of energy required to maintain a given amplitude will change depending on the viscosity of a liquid sample and, in turn, other factors which may effect viscosity such as temperature. For example, running a ½” probe at maximum amplitude in air will take approximately 5 watts whereas is takes 90 watts to maintain this amplitude when the probe is inserted in water. (Note that probes should never be in air as it may damage them.) If a liquid with a higher viscosity than water is processed an even higher wattage will be required to maintain the same amplitude.

The wattage it takes to maintain an amplitude will also increase with increasing probe size because it takes more energy to move a larger probe. This is also why the maximum amplitude of a probe decreases with increasing size.

Differently sized ultrasonic homogenizer probes.

The maximum wattage that an ultrasonic homogenizer can deliver will only be used when the resistance of the probe is high enough to need that power to obtain the desired amplitude. It is important to remember that not the total power but the intensity of cavitation shows the effectiveness of sonication so there is no need to worry if you constantly operate your ultrasonic homogenizer at wattage lower than the maximum power.

Homogenizing Viscous Materials

05 June 2017

The viscosity of your material will influence the effectiveness of its homogenization. Generally, the higher the viscosity the lower the efficiency of homogenization. Viscosity ratings for your homogenizer are often given in centipoise (cP) or millipascal-second (mPas; 1 cP = 1 mPas). Ratings can vary from 1000 cP for simple hand held rotor-stator homogenizers to 10000 cP for high power bench top models. To quickly estimate the viscosity of your sample, you can compare it with the known viscosity of common materials shown in the scheme below and see how that compares to the viscosity rating of your homogenizer.

Viscosity scale of common materials

The effect of viscous materials on homogenization depends on the type of homogenizer used but is generally true that the higher the output power the better the mixing of more viscous materials. For probe-based homogenizers (ultrasonic or rotor-stator) the volume which can be efficiently processed decreases significantly (up to an order of magnitude) with increasing viscosity. Mixing cycles should also be kept as short as possible (3 min. max) to avoid overheating of the motor. 

Generally, the effectiveness of rotor-stator homogenizers quickly decays with increasing viscosity. 10000 cP is usually the maximum viscosity processable with rotor-stator homogenizers. To improve mixing of viscous samples separate probe heads can be used. For example, the PRO scientific deflector heads are specially designed to enhance homogenization of higher viscosity materials. It is advisable to move the rotor-stator around as much as possible so that all areas of the viscous materials are mixed.

Ultrasonic homogenizers are somewhat less affected by the viscosity of your material. They rely on pressure waves which create bubbles. The collapsing of these bubbles creates energy that disrupts the material and allows mixing. Materials with increased viscosity move less easily than more watery ones and therefore put pressure on the bubbles making the mixing more efficient. This, however, only works till a certain viscosity. If your material gets too viscous, it cannot be effectively processed. A good rule of thumb is that “if you can’t pour it then you can’t sonicate it”.

Bead mill homogenizers are much less suited for viscous materials as they use beads to homogenize the material. If the beads can’t freely pass through the material, they can’t homogenize it.

High pressure homogenizers use high pressure to force your sample through small slits. For them to work properly, your sample should be fluid enough to be effectively pumped.

There are a view tricks to overcome some of the difficulties in homogenizing viscous samples and to process high viscous materials without significantly decreasing the effectiveness of your homogenization. A material’s viscosity is decreases with increasing temperature. Therefore performing the homogenization at higher temperatures will generally provide better mixing results. It is important to check the decomposition temperature of your material before homogenizing it at higher temperatures so that you do not destroy your sample. Another way to decrease the viscosity of your material is by addition of surfactant and emulsifiers. These can break up the internal resistance and allow the material to move more freely and thus become less viscous.

No matter what type of homogenizer you use, mixing viscous materials will always be more difficult  than mixing watery mixtures. You can account for this by processing smaller batches of material and, for handheld devices, moving the mixture head more rigorously to enhance homogenization. Alternatively, you can increase the processing temperature or add surfactants and emulsifiers to your sample to decrease its viscosity.

"Cheating" on Maximum Volume Limitations

09 February 2017

All homogenizers which operate in batch, as opposed to those which process a flow-through or continuous stream, have volume limitations. Some of these are impossible to get around. For instance, bead mill homogenizers utilize closed vessels, usually tubes, in which the homogenization occurs. The size of the tubes dictates how large your sample can be, and that's all there is to it.

Other homogenizers, primarily homogenizers that utilize a probe, can process substances in open containers, such as beakers or flasks. Rotor-stator and ultrasonic homogenizers operate in this manner. So the question arises: why can't we process a larger volume?

In many situations, you can, but not a lot of people realize this. It's never ideal, but doing so can help in a pinch.

The D500 Homogenizer Package, which is a rotor-stator style homogenizer (left) and the Q700 Sonicator, which is an ultrasonic homogenizer (right) both utilize probes.

Understanding Why Volume Limitations Exist

A probe-based homogenizer's maximum volume limitation isn't based on the amount of material that the homogenizer can process. Theoretically speaking, any homogenizer could process an infinite amount of material presuming that a) the material entered the area where the homogenizing forces (shear, cavitation, etc.) were being applied and b) we had sufficient time to process it to achieve the desired result (% cell lysis, desired particle size, etc.). The volume limitation is only because of flow.

In order to process a sample, the homogenizer needs the material to enter the area where the homogenizing forces are generated. For a rotor-stator, it needs to pull the sample into the area between the rotor and stator where the high shear forces are created. For an ultrasonic homogenizer, the sample needs to pass in front of the probe (also called a "horn" for ultrasonic systems). This requires the entirety of the sample to be well mixed. In a normal homogenization setup, the homogenizer also serves as the mixer. While they can mix, they are designed for homogenization, not mixing. Large volumes are not well mixed by a homogenizer, and may result in "dead zones" which do not flow and, therefore, are not homogenized.

Overcoming Volume Limitations

The use of a secondary mixer in the vessel, such as an overhead stirrer or magnetic stirrer, can create far more mixing than the homogenizer can on its own. By coupling one of these with a homogenizer, you can sometimes greatly surpass the ordinary maximum volume restrictions of a homogenizer.

Some small magnetic stirrers, like this FlatSpin stirrer, can fit between the legs of an H-stand which are available for some homogenizers.

If you are going to use a stirrer with a homogenizer, there are a few things you should be aware of:

  • Always ensure that the homogenizer probe tip is in liquid, not air. Stirring at a high speed may cause a vortex, and the probe should be away from this vortex. Ideally, you will stir at a speed which does not cause a vortex. Operating an ultrasonic horn in air will damage it and potentially break it. Many rotor-stator probes have a bearing which require lubrication by the medium being homogenized or else they will cease up, requiring replacement of the bearing and potentially the entire probe.
  • The stirring element, in other words the stir bar or the propeller of the overhead stirrer, should never contact the probe of the homogenizer, as it could irreparably damage both instruments.
  • Having a stirrer will help get around volume limitations, not viscosity limitations. While viscosity does reduce the maximum volume that can be processed with a probe-based homogenizer, the homogenizer still cannot process any volume above a specified viscosity. If you are unsure what that viscosity is for a particular instrument, ask us!
  • Ensure that your homogenizer is suitable for extended use. Most are, but if you're going to be running the homogenizer frequently and for long periods of time, you want to ensure you have a good quality system that isn't going to burn out. Again, when in doubt, ask us!

Similar to using a stirrer to create secondary mixing, you can also move the location of the probe throughout the substance you are homogenizing. This is most readily done if you are using a small, handheld homogenizer, but it can even be done in larger containers by raising / lowering the homogenizer on its stand, rotating the vessel which contains your mixture, or just about anything else you can think of. Just be very certain to never contact the probe to the sides or bottom of the container. With an ultrasonic homogenizer, you shouldn't even come close to the sides or bottom of the vessel. The amount of space required is unique to each instrument. Consult the user manual for the spacing that a given ultrasonic homogenizer requires.

Operating a homogenizer above its volume limitation is not an ideal situation. If you have a larger volume than a given homogenizer can process, look for a unit that has a larger volume rating. That will provide the best performance and most efficient homogenization. However, if you have a homogenizer and need to temporarily go past its volume limitations, operating it in conjunction with a stirrer can potentially allow you to process volumes that you would not otherwise be able to.

Homogenizing Solids with a Rotor-Stator Homogenizer

20 May 2016

A lot of people ask us about homogenizing solids with a rotor-stator homogenizer. In many instances, rotor-stator homogenizers can homogenize samples with solids in it, as well as many samples where the primary material is solid and you are looking to create a suspension or perform an extraction. There is one key rule of thumb to follow, however:

When homogenizing solids, the largest diameter of any solid particles should be no larger than one half the diameter of the probe. For example, if you are using a 20 mm probe, any solid particles in the sample should be no more than 10 mm at its widest.

Why is this? The high-shear area that samples must be exposed to in order to process is actually in the small gap between the rotor and the stator. The solids need to be small enough to be at least partially sucked into that space or simply blugeoned apart by the force of the spinning rotor. However, if the solid particles are too large they will simply bounce off (or get stuck on) the non-moving outer stator and will not homogenize.

As with all rules of thumb, it does not hold true in all situations. There are many things which are simply too hard or tough to homogenize, as the shear forces are insufficient to tear the particles apart. For instance, pieces of rubber, bone, or small rocks would be largely impervious to the forces of a rotor-stator homogenizer. Likewise, there are things that are so soft and pliable that their size is almost irrelevant. Adipose tissue or any soft, spongy material would be readily sucked into the shaft and torn apart. Something readily flexible with a very high aspect ratio, like a long and wide but very flat leaf, is also not bound by this rule as it will easily crumple into a much smaller size than its original form.

Additionally, when homogenizing larger solid particles, use of a saw-tooth probe will help. Saw-tooth probes have sharp, jagged edges which will catch solids and help cut them apart. This is especially recommended when homogenizing anything fibrous, such as most animal or plant tissues.

An IKA S25N-25G-ST Saw-Tooth Dispersing Element

Keep in mind that larger diameter probes accommodate higher volumes than smaller diameter probes. This means that if you have a low-volume application which necessitates a smaller probe, you'll need to ensure that any solid matter in your sample is smaller as well. Conversely, large-volume applications with larger probes can usually accommodate larger solid particles.

If you're ever uncertain what rotor-stator and probe are right for your application, just give us a call or send us an email and we'll be happy to help you find the right homogenizer for your needs.

What do others look for in a homogenizer?

20 January 2016

Sometimes when you're considering a product purchase, it helps to know how other people are basing their purchasing decisions as well. Maybe there's something you didn't consider, or maybe there's something that's really highly valued by a lot of people which you might want to take a harder look at.

Luckily, Lab Manager Magazine posts surveys of different lab equipment buyers and last month's survey was about homogenizers! They reported the top 10 features and factors that people look for when buying a homogenizer, and the results are:

Durability of product
79%
Results within minimum deviation
71%
Low maintenance - easy to use and clean
67%
Value for price paid
60%
Service and support
58%
Safety features
55%
Variable speed controls
55%
Reliability of vendor
53%
Warranty
51%
Reputation of vendor
44%

 

More people value durability than anything else, and it's not all that close. Here's what I like to tell people about durability: Look at the warranty duration. More than anything, warranty duration generally tells you how confident the manufacturer is in their equipment. If it wouldn't cost them anything to provide a longer warranty, they generally would. For most homogenizers, a 2-year warranty is fairly standard but a 1-year warranty isn't unheard of. Relatively few homogenizer manufacturers give a 3 year warranty. IKA and Seward are two such manufacturers. More than 3 years is fairly unheard of among homogenizer manufacturers, but Talboys, who really prides themselves on their instrument reliability but isn't really known for homogenizers, makes a high-throughput bead mill which is particularly good for 96 well plates and comes with a massive 5-year warranty.

Talboys High-Throughput Homogenizer

The Talboys High-Throughput Homogenizer

Just about any homogenizer will give reproducible results when used properly. If you're not getting reproducible results with your equipment, pay better attention to your upstream sample prep. The machine itself will do the same thing, day in and day out.

FYI, you can view the full survey results here.

If you're looking for a homogenizer that is particularly reliable, cost-effective, low-maintenance, or has any other attribute, give us a call! We're homogenizer experts and we have the largest range of homogenizers in North America.

Choosing a Laboratory Homogenizer

08 May 2014

Wondering what the most important attributes are in choosing a homogenizer?  Thanks to a recent survey (ref) we no longer need to wonder!  According to 219 customers, the following factors are the most important when purchasing a homogenizer:

Durability 92%
Low Maintenance 86%
Value 83%
Reproducible Results 78%
Variable Speed 78%
Service / Support 69%
Warranty 68%
Safety Features 66%
Vendor Reputation 62%

These are all good things to keep in mind when selecting a homogenizer, although I'm surprised the survey didn't mention throughput, capacity / sample size, or cooling.

The survey also asked respondents what kinds of homogenizers they used.  These are the results:

Rotor-Stator 41%
Ultrasonic 30%
Bead Mill 17%
High-Pressure 7%
Other 6%

This isn't terribly surprising given the versatility of rotor-stators, the relative newness of laboratory-scale bead milling technologies, and the cost of high-pressure fluidized bed systems.

When choosing a homogenizer for yourself, though, don't just go with what's popular.  There's a lot of different homogenizers out there and the right one for you will depend heavily on your application.  If you have any questions about homogenizers or homogenization within your particular application, don't hesitate to contact us!  We're not only homogenization experts but we're also brand-agnostic, so we'll help you find whatever homogenizer is right for you.

How to Homogenize Tissue

14 April 2014

If you've never used a homogenizer before, you may be a little intimidated.  There's a lot of methods to choose from and the right way to go about homogenization may not be obvious.  To try to get you on the right path, we've made this introductory guide on how to homogenize tissue.  We'll try to cover as much as possible without writing a novel.

 

Assess Your Needs

What kind of samples are you looking to homogenize?

Not every homogenizer can handle all types of tissue.  Soft tissues, such as adipose, are easy to homogenize and the tool and method used are not as important.  Very hard or very fibrous tissue may require an especially powerful homogenizer.

For homogenizing tough or fibrous tissue, bead mills or rotor-stators can both do the job.  If using a rotor-stator, ensure that the probe has a bladed or saw-tooth end to help shred the tissue apart, as the shear forces alone may not be sufficient.  With bead mills, ensure that you are using a very dense bead, and a jagged or irregularly shaped bead if they are available.  Ultrasonic homogenizers (which are sometimes referred to as "sonicators," although that is actually a brand name) are generally not suitable for homogenizing fibrous tissue.  If you are homogenizing an extremely hard tissue such as bone, there are very few homogenizers which can do the job.  For those, we generally recommend either pre-treating the sample to soften it first, or using an ultra-powerful homogenizer such as the Precellys 24.

What analytes are you hoping to extract?

You may want to use a different homogenization method for DNA than you would for a small molecule, for instance.  Some special cases, like the isolation of intact cells or organelles, require special consideration.  Some analytes, like RNA, may be especially sensitive to heat.

As a general rule, the smaller the compartment which you need to break open in order to retrieve your samples, the more energy you will need.  For rotor-stators, you will want to ensure that the distance between the rotor and stator is small (but keep in mind that small rotor-stator gaps can make homogenizing large pieces of tissue more difficult).  With a bead mill, you will want to use smaller beads.  Ultrasonic Sonifier homogenizers are particularly good at breaking up small organelles.

If your sample is heat-sensitive, ensure that it either has heat dissipation features, has direct cooling, or allows for a setup in which your samples may be placed on ice during processing.  Luckily, there are many such options.  A number of bead mills have cooling features (the Bullet Blender Gold is a relatively inexpensive example), rotor-stators can often be set up to homogenize inside a vessel which is placed on ice, and ultrasonic homogenizers sometimes have accessories which allow the sample to be water-jacketed during processing such as this flow-through device for the Sonifier S-Class homogenizers.

If extracting RNA or DNA, keep in mind that the more vigorous the homogenization, the more shearing you will achieve.  You may want to optimize your protocol to account for whether shearing is desired or to be avoided.

If your desired analytes require you to process your tissue while it is frozen, I recommend contacting us as this can get a little tricky - it requires homogenizing something as hard as ice while keeping it frozen - but it can be done.  We've even had a few customers do so quite economically.

What sizes will your samples be?

Each homogenizer is only suitable for a range of sample sizes.  Bead mills tend to have the lowest sample size ranges, with most homogenizing in 2ml tubes.  Ultrasonic homogenizers process a greater range of sample sizes, with many capable of processing samples smaller than 1 ml or as large as 100s of ml.  Rotor stators vary in processing capacity the greatest, with small handheld models capable of homogenizing volumes down to 30µl (such as the PRO200) and large pilot-plant scale models which can homogenize tens of liters (such as the Ultra-Turrax T 65) - far greater than necessary for tissue processing applications.

If your sample size does not fit your desired instrument, you often have two options to remedy this.  If your sample is too large, consider cutting it into smaller pieces and homogenizing the pieces individually.  If your sample is too small, you may be able to dilute it such that the liquid volume meets the minimum requirements for the homogenizer - just keep in mind that this will reduce the final concentration of the analyte as well and may skew quantitative results based on concentration if you are not maintaining the same ratio of sample to buffer added across all samples.

How many samples will you need to homogenize at once?

Some units are capable of processing many samples in a short time, but higher throughput devices often cost more.  High-throughput ultrasonic devices are rare, although there are some systems available (such as the DPS-20 Homogenizing System).  High-throughput rotor-stator devices are somewhat more common.

Most bead mills are capable of processing multiple samples at a time (at the time of writing, all the systems we offer on Homogenizers.net are capable of processing multiple samples).  Some small, inexpensive devices process as few a three samples (such as the BeadBug) while many others process up to 24 samples simultaneously - 24 seems to be a popular number for homogenizers that use microcentrifuge tubes.

Due to issues pertaining to cross-contamination and workflow, we generally do not recommend using a lower-throughput rotor-stator or ultrasonic homogenizer for high-throughput processing of biological samples.

Do you have any special requirements?

Some applications require more special attention than others.  For instance, some tissue processing applications may deal with pathogens and require that BSL-3 standards are met.  A common concern is the aerosolization of samples.  Bead Mills are generally preferred for BSL-3 applications due to their homogenizing inside sealed tubes (additionally, some are specifically designed to meet BSL-3 requirements).

Once you've determined which homogenizer will be best for you (BTW - don't hesitate to ask us if you need help or have questions) then you're ready to start creating your protocol!

Creating A Tissue Homogenization Protocol

There can be many variables in homogenization protocols.  Speed and time are the most common, but there can be others such as the type and amount of beads used in a bead mill, the probe used for a rotor-stator or ultrasonic homogenizer, and others.  Before you start using your important samples, do a few dry runs using spare tissue - or, if you do not have spare tissue, perhaps another type of sample which would be similar.

In some cases, protocols may be available to provide a starting point.  If an established protocol exists, we'll be happy to provide one.

In general, the larger and tougher a sample is, the more rigorous processing it requires.  Increases in both time and speed / power will help ensure that tough or large samples are fully processed.

If your application and analyte require that processing is as gentle as possible, start low.  Ensure that the processed sample is of uniform consistency by both texture and visual inspection.  If not, increase the speed.  Conversely, if your application demands a more rigorous processing - such as DNA shearing - then aim very high.  If your sample is more than adequately processed, then you can consider decreasing the speed or power in order to save time and / or prevent instrument wear.

If your analysis method is simple and / or inexpensive to perform, it is often worthwhile to run an experiment to determine the optimum settings.  Run a small batch of samples on various settings to determine what settings provide the best results, and then use those from that point forward.  This can help eliminate uncertainty from your experimental results as well.

When in Doubt...

If you run into any problems or have any questions, just contact us!  We're the Homogenizer experts and we're happy to help with any application.  Our support wizards are on deck during Eastern US business hours, and usually a little later as well.

Homogenization Utilized in Isolation of Pathogens from Tissues

16 February 2014

Studying the internal pathogen component of tissues and animals is an essential factor in the field of infectious disease research; however, the disruption of such tissues in order to isolate an intact, viable pathogen for quantification or further experimentation and testing is usually a technical, laboratory problem.

Bead-beating technology has been established in order to homogenize an extensive number of animal or plant tissues, or even microorganisms.

The technology includes the utilization of three different tube sizes (usually 0.5 mL, 2 mL, or 7 mL), which are prefilled with beads for simple and efficient extraction of DNA, RNA, as well as protein. Such technology is making its way into infectious disease research labs as it successfully isolates pathogens from their host tissue. This method has been found to effectively, and uniformly disrupt animals cells burdened with pathogens allowing researchers to quantify internal infectious load.

The bead-beating procedure is usually done as a preparative step prior to pathogen DNA extraction. Bead-beating is a mechanical disruption method wherein glass or zirconia beads are added to the tubes containing samples, which are then shaken causing collisions between the beads and samples, within bead-beating disruption apparatuses or equipment. This procedure has become more common as a method for extracting proteins from plant tissues, or for extraction pathogenic nucleic acids from yeasts, and organs. By doing the bead-beating procedure as a preparatory step to physically disrupt cells, the extraction efficiency of pathogenic DNA has improved in a sense that greater yield and better quality of DNA has been obtained from the samples under various conditions.

 

For more information on more homogenization techniques or applications, please visit our website or contact us! We'd be more than glad to help out and expand your homogenization knowledge.

Application: Using a Homogenizer for Tissue Dissociation / Cell Isolation

05 September 2013

One of the applications we are asked about most frequently is using a homogenizer for tissue dissociation - isolating intact cells from tissue.  Can it be done?  Yes, it most certainly can, but it is a finicky process.  Here's some advice for using a homogenizer in cell isolation applications:

  • Don't use ultrasonic homogenizers for cell isolation.  Ultrasonic homogenizers are equally effective, if not more effective, at lysing cells as they are at dissociating tissue.  If you manage to break apart your tissue on a macro-level you'll probably have lysed your cells as well.
  • It's possible to perform cell isolation using a rotor-stator if you can run it very slowly and / or use a blending / cutting attachment.  Some rotor-stators have minimum speeds which prevent them from being run slow enough to shred tissue without lysing cells due to the shear forces it creates.  However, some rotor-stators have attachments which spin a blade, turning the device into more of a blender than a traditional rotor-stator.  These generally improve tissue separation while limiting cell lysis due to shear forces.
  • Bead mill homogenizers are usually our recommendation for tissue dissociation (although it can depend on other parameters as well).  As with rotor-stators, you'll want to minimize your run speed and run for only as long as you need to dissociate the tissue.  This generally takes some experimenting to find your ideal run time and speed which will gently dissociate the tissue.  Using larger beads than would normally be used is recommended, as the collisions between beads (or collisions between the beads and the wall of the tubes) tend to increase the efficiency of cell lysis, which is undesirable in this case.  Note that your cell population may have slight contamination from micro-particles that chip off the beads.  In most research applications this mild contamination doesn't matter, but for some preclinical applications or certain downstream analytical measurements it may cause a problem.

Ultimately, homogenizers are designed for homogenizing.  If you want to use one for cell isolation you're not going to get a very high percentage of viable cells and you'll probably have to do some experimenting to perfect your protocol, but ultimately it is possible and isn't terribly difficult to do with most tissues.

If you're looking for some assistance using a homogenizer for cell isolation or any other application, feel free to contact us!

Physical Homogenization

29 August 2013

Currently, several means of mechanical cell disruption and tissue homogenization are commercially available for processing small samples - typically less than 1 ml, to larger production quantities. Mechanical methods of lysing do not introduce chemicals or enzymes to the system; however, the energies needed when using these physical methods can be extremely high and destroy the very substances being isolated - especially in the case of RNA or when attempting to extract native-state proteins.

The destruction of cell membranes and walls is done by subjecting the cells: to shearing by liquid flow; to exploding by pressure differences between inside and outside of cell; to collision forces by impact of beads or paddles; or a combination of these forces.

Generally speaking, any of the techniques described here are able disrupt any cells or tissues at some point. For more difficult materials, simply increase the motivation force or time of exposure in order to improve breakage. However, use of excessive force is limited because of the generation of detrimental heat and/or shear that can ruin the desired proteins. Moreover, excess force will accelerate wear and ultimately damage the equipment.

By judicious use of the equipment one can select from a gentle nicking of the cell to release intact organelle up to a vigorous action to release membrane bound proteins. Some methods are suitable to handle tissues only, others for free cells only, and some are suitable for both. Some techniques are capable of processing only small quantities of material whereas others are limited to handling larger amounts.

Tissues that are difficult to break down include heart muscle, lung, intestine, and skin. On the other hand, some fragile mammalian cells can be broken by just a moderate shaking of the suspended cells. Free cells that are difficult to process include those that are extremely small size (below 0.25 micron) bacteria, and the tough yeasts and spores. Plant materials and seeds will need higher energy inputs for proper maceration.

More information on mechanical homogenization will be posted on the upcoming blogs - so keep checking!

Homogenization 101

12 July 2013

In order to know what type of homogenizer is best for your lab procedural needs, it's always good to know what types of homogenizing equipment are out there.

Homogenization is a process in which a biological sample is blended, mixed, stirred (yes, any type of mushing together) in order to produce a homogeneous mixture. The desired homogenous or uniformly mushed mixture's composition is equal and the same no matter how little of a fraction is obtained from it - meaning, any small amount from the mixture should have the same molecular composition as that of the original homogenized sample. Of course, the integrity of the homogenized mixture is dependent on how well the homogenizer does its job.

Here's a brief overview of the four major types of homogenizing technologies applied through the homogenizing equipment that are available in the market:

  1. Mechanical
    • Includes rotor-stator and blade type homogenizers.  Rotor-stator homogenizers are more common in laboratory usage, and mechanically tear apart samples as well as disrupt samples through rapid changes in pressure known as cavitation.
  2. Ultrasonic
    • Ultrasonic homogenizers generate intense sonic pressure waves in liquid media. The pressure waves disrupt cells causing lysis, which then creates a homogeneous mixture of the sample.
  3. Pressure
    • This method involves high-pressure that forces cell suspensions through a very narrow channel, orifice or opening.
  4. Bead Mill
    • In a bead mill homogenizer, the sample is placed in a tube with beads and the tubes are vigorously shaken.  The movement of the beads and the impact between them breaks up the sample.

Keep checking our blog for further details on these processes and more specifics on the homogenizers that are available on our site.

Welcome to Homogenizers.net!

14 June 2013

Welcome to Homogenizers.net - the world's largest selection of laboratory homogenizers!  We exist to do two things:

  1. Offer you the largest selection of homogenizers (and therefore the most choice) that can be found anywhere.
  2. Make finding the homogenizer that will best meet your needs as easy as possible.

There are a lot of homogenizers out there.  There are TONS of applications.  If you're not already a homogenizer expert (and why should you have to be?) then it's difficult to know which homogenizer will do the job you need it to do.  We want to make sure that when you make a purchase you're certain that the homogenizer you've selected is right for your lab's needs and applications.  Along those lines, we'll do our best to offer the tools, information and advice that make selecting and purchasing a homogenizer as easy as possible.

Go to our homepage to start your search or check out our current deals.  If at any time you're confused or have questions, just ask us!

Happy homogenizing!