Automated homogenization has reduced laboratory sample preparation to 30 seconds with repeatable consistency, which saves lab techs time to focus on other experiments.
However, with so many advantages and options, choosing the right tissue homogenizer can be challenging – how can you be sure which is best for your laboratory?
There is a wide range of mixer homogenizer model types, sizes, and available features, from bead mills to rotor-stator mixers to sonicators to automated homogenizers. Each model and method have its own advantages, efficiencies, and disadvantages, depending on the type, size, volume, and dissociative resistance of the samples you are preparing. Other factors that may affect your choice include the processing speed, the required maintenance and cleaning, and ease of use.
Below is an overview of the benefits and uses of the primary types of tissue homogenizers.
BEAD MILL HOMOGENIZERS
Bead mills are a fast and easy-to-use method for grinding, lysing, and homogenizing solid human, animal, and plant samples prior to molecular extraction. The equipment works by using rapidly accelerating beads of various sizes and compositions within a sealed tube to dissociate a sample upon impact.
Because it is a sealed system with no probes, bead mill technology significantly reduces the risk of samples becoming aerosolized, and there is virtually no risk of cross-contamination. This makes it a good choice for preparing samples that pose a risk of infection or contain other hazardous materials. Upon repeated impact with the beads, the cellular and connective tissue breaks down to release analytes. Because the tubes are prefilled, bead mill homogenizers have less flexibility around sample size.
Front-loading bead mills minimize leak risks and make it easy to see and access your samples to reduce the risk of missing something, and sealed tubes reduce the risk of samples becoming aerosolized.
For a detailed look at how to bead mill homogenization results in high protein recovery, click here.
These hand-held or free-standing machines are standard equipment in any lab that needs an efficient process for breaking open cells and homogenizing tissue with a probe. Rotor-Stator homogenizers are well-suited for liquid or soft samples that must be mixed or emulsified. High-shear versions can process tough samples quickly and efficiently, reducing exposure to heat, which can degrade samples.
Rotor-stator homogenizers also can hold the sample securely in place while spinning the rotor at extremely high speeds, up to 75,000 rpm. Probes with saw-toothed heads help break down fibrous samples and other soft solids. The equipment may produce a moderate amount of heat into the sample, mostly due to frictional forces.
Also known as ultrasonic homogenizers, sonicators provide ultrasonic cell disruption by creating forceful cavitation and ultrasonic waves to blend, mix, emulsify, disperse, and stir liquid samples. Sonicators impart high energy over a small area and are functional for samples with very small particles. Sonicators are well-suited for disintegrating or shearing most cells, such as bacteria, DNA, and RNA.
Unlike traditional grinding and cutting techniques, a sonicator uses a tip to vibrate rapidly and generate bubbles in the surrounding solution. This process can generate a significant amount of heat, so it may not be the right option for temperature-sensitive samples. Due to high-powered sound waves, sound abatement chambers or other acoustic enclosures are highly recommended.
For laboratories or manufacturers that require automated tools to meet large-scale sample preparation demands, automated homogenizers simultaneously process dozens of samples with microprocessor controls that can capture and save recipes/protocols for repeatability and the ability to walk away during processing large batches so you can work on something else.
Some automated homogenizer models are also equipped with workflow software that enables you to create and deploy methods in minutes through an interactive GUI to ensure hands-free sample preparation.
Disposable probes and sealed vessels also reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
FREE SAMPLE PREP OFFER
Still not sure what to buy? Send us your sample: we’ll process it at no charge and provide you with a full report with photographs.
OMNI International offers decades of experience in helping laboratories around the world streamline sample preparation with a wide array of homogenizer options, including:
- Bead mills like the Bead Ruptor Elite can process samples up to 24 at a time
- The most-used handheld rotor-stator TH Tissue Homogenizer
- The OMNI Prep 96 Automated Homogenizer can handle up to 576 samples at a time
Not sure which configuration will work best for your applications? Contact our homogenization experts to help you identify homogenizer options that best fit your lab, coordinate our free sample offer with you, and arrange for a product demo.
For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.