Cell Disruption Comparison: Mechanical vs. Non-Mechanical Methods

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David Shechter
Jun 10, 2016
min read
Cell Disruption Comparison: Mechanical vs. Non-Mechanical Methods

There exists a small cohort of laboratory techniques that are used regularly by life science researchers and scientists. Among these is cell disruption (also known as cell lysis or rupture), which provides access to versatile intracellular components. Because there are so many ways to disrupt a cell, it is important to understand the broad categorizations, either mechanical or non-mechanical, before narrowing down the mixing method you are interested in using. Below is a descriptive comparison of the two, which can point potential users in the right product direction.

Reference to mechanical cell disruption indicates that the machine uses force to generate a lysate. While some methods, like bead beating and blending, employ a single force, many others, like grinding and homogenization, incorporate multiple forces, which is advantageous in achieving a higher lysate yield. This mechanical mixing style is advantageous for a number of reasons. Firstly, the use of force instead of detergents and other chemical treatments allows many intracellular proteins to remain intact where they may have otherwise been destroyed. Additionally, mechanical methods are oftentimes better able to process large sample sizes, in terms of both sheer capacity and financial burden.

Non-mechanical disruption, in contrast to mechanical, uses methods other than force to rupture a cell’s wall and/or membrane. For example, enzymatic lysis uses enzymes to disrupt the hydrophilic and hydrophobic bonds in the cell membrane; detergents and chemicals work in a similar fashion. They type of enzyme or chemical will depend on its intended use; for example, proteases like trypsin and collagenase can release individual cells from tissues, while cellulases can yield protoplasts from plant cells. Non-mechanical disruption is most useful for small samples and those which do not have very tough cell walls, as the required time and materials are minimal compared with those of mechanical disruption methods. Additionally, they can target specific cells and/or molecules without leaving contaminants and other unwanted material in the lysate.

Pion: Trustworthy High-Pressure Homogenizers

Whether you select a mechanical or non-mechanical method of cell disruption will ultimately depend on downstream applications and the cell type being used. Either way, you will be well-served to select a homogenizer that is flexible to meet the various needs of a laboratory. There are plenty of companies on the market to select equipment from; however, the lysate can be of higher quality and more even consistency when run through top-shelf equipment, most frequently in the form of a homogenizer.

Pion's BEE brand technologies are trusted by researchers around the world for both their laboratory homogenizers and their associated customer support. Cell lysis is just one of a variety of applications for Pion's BEE brand homogenizers; nano/micro emulsions, lipids, suspensions, and dispersions are also easily achievable. Additionally, the homogenizer processes can be controlled to suit your product, which will allow you to customize to your cell type. And finally, the equipment is easy to use, produces higher yield in less time, and achieves results that are reproducible and scalable.

Learn about how Pion's products can maximize your homogenization processes by contacting us today.

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