Homogenization 101

By Aimee O'Driscoll, 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.
  • 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.
  • Pressure
    • This method involves high-pressure that forces cell suspensions through a very narrow channel, orifice or opening.
  • 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.