The first thing many consumers point to when they hear the term “homogenization” is milk. August Gaulin received a patent for his homogenizer in 1899 and exhibited it to “treat” milk in 1900 at the World’s Fair in Paris.
Homogenization works by forcing the sample through a narrow space, and multiple forces –– including turbulence and cavitation in addition to high pressure –– can act on the sample to create a high-quality product. It can be used on many different types of material, such as plant, food, soil, tissue and more. In this blog, we’ll focus on tissue homogenization and what to consider when selecting a homogenizer to fit your specific business needs.
In summary, tissue homogenization is a process employed to prepare tissue samples for further study, research or development. It involves the lysing (breaking apart) of cells to release their contents, from proteins and small molecules to DNA and RNA and more. The type of cell being lysed often dictates the homogenization device or technique that is used to complete the task. Homogenization is not only usually the simplest and safest approach to preparing such contents, it also is one of the quickest and most cost-effective methods.
Techniques for Tissue Homogenization
Knowing what techniques are best utilized for tissue homogenization can make choosing the right product a much easier proposition. These four techniques include chemical homogenization, freeze-thawing, and mechanical and ultrasonic homogenization.
Chemical homogenization is best for small samples because the cost of materials used can be high for industrial-sized products. Freeze-thawing requires multiple cycles and a lot of time, and ultrasonic homogenization is only appropriate for tissues and molecules that aren’t affected by the temperature increase resulting from the high amount of heat it generates. The mechanical homogenization method can easily be scaled and offers time-efficient and consistent results. Overall, mechanical and ultrasonic homogenization are the two most commonly used techniques.
High pressure homogenization allows for the forces of turbulence, cavitation, shear and impact to be used simultaneously to produce the best end result, even with delicate tissues. However, the lysate can be of higher quality and more even consistency when run through top-shelf equipment.
Following is a list of things to consider when selecting a tissue homogenizer:
- Toughness of tissue - Not all homogenizers can process more fibrous tissue, and those that can typically require a lengthy processing time.
- Sample size and type – Large samples usually take more time to homogenize. Animal and plant tissues, yeast and bacteria typically require more rigorous methods of disruption.
- Available components – Consider the product’s motor size, speed control and range, weight and dimensions and processing range.
- Sample safety – The homogenizer used should be able to rapidly release the protein from its intracellular compartment into a buffer that isn’t harmful to the biological activity of the protein of interest.
- Uniformity of samples – The selected homogenizer should have the capability to quickly and safely produce consistent samples.
Before making a final decision on a homogenizer purchase, it’s a good idea to consult with businesses and/or laboratories with needs similar to yours. Another good idea is to request a demonstration from a couple manufacturers and compare the speed, cost and automation capabilities of the products.
Pion: The Top Choice for BEE Brand Tissue Homogenizers
Pion offers a number of high-quality, high-pressure homogenizers to achieve your goals. With our homogenizers, you will reap the benefits of our process, which includes:
- Tighter distribution of smaller particles
- Maximum particle size reduction in fewer passes
- Increased manufacturing efficiency and reduced cost