Homogenizers are used to blend chemical and biological samples such as plants, tissue, food, and soil. They can also be used to disrupt cell membranes and make a homogenous cell suspension. Recent applications have included preparing biological samples for next-generation sequencing. Homogenization allows scientists to better analyze a representative part of a heterogeneous sample.
5 Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Homogenizer or Cell Disruptor
- How does the homogenizer break down samples? e.g. beads, mechanical force, sonication
- How many samples can be homogenized at a time?
- What volume of sample can the homogenizer accommodate?
- How flexible is the instrument? Can it be used for more than one application?
- Does the homogenizer come with pre-programmed protocols for easy use?
Blending solutions using homogenizers can produce aerosols that may be hazardous to users. Only operate the system in a well-ventilated area or consider placing it in a biosafety cabinet or fume hood. Closed homogenizer systems are also available that prevent aerosols from escaping during operation, protecting the users and allowing these instruments to be placed anywhere in the lab.
To keep your homogenizer in good working order, specific parts such as upper and lower bearings should be replaced on a semi-regular basis to prevent the need for more extensive repairs. Some manufacturers offer full maintenance kits that have everything you need to maintain your homogenizer between regularly-scheduled maintenance appointments.