Homogenization: A Historical Perspective

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Deb Shechter
Jun 20, 2016
min read
Homogenization: A Historical Perspective

Homogenizers are among the most highly used, yet lesser understood, machines used for research and manufacture of products across industries. Although the present-day equipment is rife with technology, including force (mechanical, chemical, and electronic), customizability, and easy scalability, it evolved from a much more basic model. Below is a general timeline that details the evolution of the modern-day homogenizer and its use, incorporating a perspective that will help the user gain greater appreciation for the diverse process.

The concept of homogenization was brought about as scientists began altering milk’s properties, both chemically and physically, in the 1800’s, to improve both its taste and physical appearance. Continuing the work of Louis Pasteur, a Frenchman by the name of Auguste Gaulin invented the first emulsifying machine, which he dubbed a homogenizer. It was a simple machine, comprised of a three piston pump that forced milk through a narrow tube while applying pressure; this action broke fat globules into smaller sizes to prevent separation and rising. (1) Yet the machine, patented in 1899, didn’t gain traction with the general public until about 1919. At that time, a vast amount of homogenized milk was purchased and people began to notice the difference in quality between this and untreated milk. (2)

Over time, homogenization has evolved in more than one way. Some machines, like simple blenders or centrifuges, apply a single force to a sample and are oftentimes small and affordable, even for the non-scientist consumer. Others, like the ultrasonic homogenizer, use sonic pressure waves to create cavitation. And still others, like the high pressure homogenizer, are large machines that impart multiple mechanical forces, through a process similar to Gaulin’s, and can be customized based on the sample being processed. Additionally, homogenizers are no longer used solely for milk treatment; other industries, like the pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and food, use homogenization to optimize product qualities like bioavailability, consistency, and texture.

BEE International: Homogenizers Worth Selecting

Have you decided that a homogenizer will be the right choice for you? Begin your search with laboratory homogenizers by Pion. We are trusted by pharmaceutical researchers and lab managers around the world. We deliver an array of key benefits, such as production of cell lysates, nano/micro emulsions and dispersions and lipids and suspensions. Our homogenizer processes can be controlled to better suit your product; for example, pressure can be adjusted to be gentler or harsher and the results can be scaled to manufacturing. Finally, our equipment is easy to use, produces higher yield in less time, and results are reproducible and scalable.

Pion's BEE brand of homogenizers offers a variety of laboratory, pilot-plant, and industrial scale models that can help you achieve high quality applications. Learn more about Pion and our homogenizer options by contacting us today.

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