Tissue Homogenization: 4 Viable Techniques

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Deb Shechter
May 12, 2016
min read
Tissue Homogenization: 4 Viable Techniques

Tissue homogenization is performed regularly in labs across the world for cell and tissue preparation. This process involves lysing the cells to release intracellular contents of interest, such as proteins and nuclear components. Scientists can measure the efficacy of a homogenization technique by its time efficiency combined with its overall ability to create a high-quality sample. Here we analyze four different tissue homogenization techniques for their ideal cell types, batch sizes, and potential benefits/caveats.

  • Chemical Homogenization

Most disruption methods use some form of lysis buffer or chemical to provide stability when isolating specific biomolecules. Yet some chemicals can be used alone to effectively homogenize tissues. For example, surfactants and detergents target biological membranes by disrupting the hydrophobic/hydrophilic interface, and are well-matched with various bacterial species. Enzymes also tackle the cell membrane and/or wall, and can be effectively used as a first step in obtaining tissue extract. Chemical homogenization is preferable for small samples, as the materials cost can become overwhelming for industrial-sized products. (1)

  • Freeze-Thawing

Frequently employed to disrupt bacterial and mammalian cells, freeze-thawing is nearly as simple as it sounds. A tissue suspension is first frozen and then thawed at room temperature. Ice crystals that formed during the freezing process contract as the sample thaws, which ruptures the cell’s membrane. Although it effectively releases recombinant cytoplasmic proteins, the freeze-thaw process requires multiple cycles and requires significant amounts of time. (2)

  • Mechanical Homogenization

Encompassing equipment like rotor stators and high pressure homogenizers, mechanical homogenization works by using pressure and/or force(s), instead of heat, to mechanically disrupt cells. Scientists often turn to this technique because of its ability to be easily scaled, as well as its quick process and uniform/consistent results.

  • Ultrasonic Homogenization

Ultrasonic homogenizers, also known as sonicators, rupture tissues through a combination of cavitation and ultrasonic waves. This technique is ideally matched for suspended cellular/subcellular structures, as well as for shearing DNA. However, because it generates a significant amount of heat, ultrasonic homogenization is only appropriate for tissues and molecules that will not be affected by temperature increase. (3)

Pion: The Homogenizer Advantage

Use of high quality tissue homogenization equipment will provide numerous benefits for both production laboratories and consumers alike. And there are plenty of companies on the market to select your equipment from. However, the homogenate can be of higher quality and more even consistency when run through top-shelf equipment, most frequently in the form of a high pressure homogenizer. Pion's BEE brand technology is trusted by researchers and lab managers around the world. We deliver an array of key benefits, such as production of nano/micro emulsions and dispersions and lipids and suspensions; these can be used for applications such as injectables, targeted drug delivery, inhalants, time release, anesthetics, and importantly, vaccinations.

In addition, we have extensive experience in the challenges that our customers face as they transition from concept, through to R&D, clinical trials, all-important FDA approval and finally, to manufacturing.

Learn more about how our high pressure homogenizers can benefit your tissue homogenization, contact us today.

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