High Pressure Homogenization or Sonication - Comparing Two Methods

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David Shechter
Feb 22, 2016
min read
High Pressure Homogenization or Sonication - Comparing Two Methods

Most laboratories that work on a molecular scale require cell disruption to access valuable intracellular proteins. Homogenization is commonly used for this purpose, largely due to its ease in technique and effective results. However, multiple types of homogenizers exist and the various options can be quite intimidating for the consumer. In this edition of the blog, we analyze two types of homogenization, high pressure (mechanical) and sonication (ultrasonic), for their roles in the cell disruption process.

Analysis of nucleic acids, proteins, and other intracellular contents begins with their preparation. This occurs in two steps:

  1. Isolation of individual cells from tissues
  2. Lysis of the cells to access molecules of interest

The technique you select to do this must be powerful enough to break through tough exterior cell walls, yet sensitive enough so as not to destroy the tissue sample.

High pressure homogenization uses force (such as turbulence and cavitation) alongside high pressure to create a consistent and uniform sample. Because of its powerful pressure, high pressure homogenization is well-matched with organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and fungus, whose tough cell walls need to be lysed. Some high-quality homogenizers are customizable and can therefore break the cell wall without damaging the intracellular components, while others are better suited for less sensitive samples. In contrast, along with force, ultrasonic homogenization uses ultrasonic sound waves to easily and quickly homogenize a sample. Ultrasonic homogenization is matched well to individual cells, as it may not be powerful enough to disrupt entire tissues. (1) Additionally, ultrasonic homogenization is good for small samples, while high pressure homogenization can easily handle the volume of larger samples.

The product you select for your laboratory will ultimately depend on your downstream applications and the cell types you are using. 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 your 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 is trusted by researchers around the world for both our laboratory homogenizers and our 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 to make your cell lysis protocol more effective by looking at our laboratory homogenizers.

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