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Star Republic: Guide for Biologists

Homogenizers

Type

Application

Microtube plastic pestles

Disposable plastic pestles fit the microcentrifuge tubes. Used for crashing small amount of tissues (e.g., mouse tail, flies). A hand-held motor unit is available to drive the pestle.

Mortar and pestle

Microbes, plant and animal tissue can be frozen in liquid nitrogen and ground at the same low temperature.

Sonicator

Disrupts microbes, plant and animal tissue by ultrasound.

Bead Mill

Disrupts tough-to-disrupt cells like yeast and spores where other techniques have failed. Minute glass beads (0.1-2.5 mm) used to break cells by vigorous agitation. Vortexing works but not effective. Motorized models include shaking type bead mill and rotor-type bead mill.

Pestle and tube homogenizers

Consist of a tube and a tight-fitting pestle (clearance about 0.1-0.2 mm). Used for animal tissues chopped into small pieces (1-5 mm). The choice for the preparation of subcellular organelles because the disruption is extremely gentle. Motorized version available.