Homogenizer in a laboratory: When is it necessary?

A laboratory homogenizer is equipment that is used to homogenize various samples, that is, it is commonly used in laboratories to mix substances, in order to create soluble suspensions or double emulsions.

That is why the use of a homogenizer in the laboratory is necessary to guarantee that all the components of the prepared suspensions have the same characteristics. They are also used to gently mix and forcefully resuspend cells and components of chemical and biological liquids in tubes using an eccentric mechanism.

It is noteworthy that homogenization is a common step in the preparation of samples of biological origin, before conducting nucleic acid and protein analysis, cell studies, metabolism, and pathogens. Homogenization systems are also of great importance and utility in most of the food and beverage, cosmetics, science and technology industries, as well as in many other industries where the manufacturing process must be combined and emulsified. The main types of homogenizers are grouped into three broad categories: mechanical, ultrasound and pressure.

Types of homogenizers

  • Mechanical: Agitate the sample quickly and constantly to create a homogeneous emulsion.
  • Multi-sample: In these equipments the homogenization is fast, through a system of auto hooking and unhooking of the multiple preparation probes. It is capable of emulsifying several samples at the same time, using differentiated and disposable tubes.
  • Ultrasonic: This type of homogenizer is the most suitable and effective for dissolving cells and subcellular structures and tissues. The equipment releases suspended sound pressure waves. When used, small bubbles are generated in the liquid due to flow caused by pressure waves. Cavitation occurs when these bubbles grow and converge to maximum size, shake vigorously, and then collapse. They are generally used for scientific trials.
  • Paddle: They work with a sterile plastic bag, into which the sample and diluent are introduced, then the paddles hit the bag continuously, allowing the sample to emulsion.
  • Blender: they are equipment quite similar to domestic blenders, they are made up of a glass or steel jug, and a propeller coupled to the motor, which produces uniform homogenization of the sample.

Vibration homogenizers are quite common in bioscience labs. In cell culture and microbiology laboratories that can be used to suspend cells. In a biochemical or analytical laboratory it can be used to mix reagents for an assay or to mix an experimental sample and a diluent.

Recommendations when using a laboratory homogenizer

  • Never operate the unit if the stirring head is not firmly attached.
  • Always wear unbreakable eye protection.
  • Do not use or mix flammable solvents on or near the shaker.
  • Shake hazardous samples in appropriate holding containers.
  • Repairs must be carried out by qualified personnel.
  • Deterioration of protection may be caused if it is used in a manner not specified by the manufacturer.

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