Using a Lab Homogenizer in Animal Cell Research

Animal tissue culture techniques can require careful handling of the sample to ensure the cells won’t be damaged or die before animal cell research proceeds.  Processing animal fibers to secure cells is a critical first step in the process.  A laboratory homogenizer is an excellent tool to accomplish this but care must be taken to avoid heat buildup that could damage the specimens.

Two Critical Points to Homogenizing Animal Cells

A lab homogenizer is a motor-driven generator comprised of a rotor and stator.    The rotor-stator assembly does the actual homogenizing.  Powered by the drive motor, the rotor rotates at controllable speeds inside the stationary stator affixed to the drive motor housing.  Machined teeth on the rotor interact with slots on the stator.  Homogenizing is achieved as animal fibers are drawn up into the generator and propelled through the stator slots.

Rotors and stators come in many configurations, each designed for specific purposes.  In animal cell research the M series of homogenizer/dispersing tools offered by CAT Scientific is recommended.  This series has a knife-edge design specifically suited for stringy and fibrous materials.  They are offered in 5 sizes and can process volumes from 0.2 ml to 1500 ml.

To avoid heat build-up use short homogenizing cycles such as 3 to 5 seconds then immediately stop the homogenizing action and remove the generator from the sample flask or test tube.  Allow it to cool. This cycle can be repeated until the desired results are obtained.

Alternatively, the animal fiber sample can be cooled with a solvent such as Trizol to 3˚C before homogenizing.  If facilities permit, immerse the sample flask or test tube in a cold bath while homogenizing.

Lab Homogenizer Housekeeping

The complex configuration of lab homogenizer rotor-stator assemblies and shaft tubes make them susceptible to capturing and holding the materials being processed.  To avoid cross-contamination when changing samples they should be thoroughly cleaned to ensure particles do not remain in rotor and stator assemblies, on the drive shaft and tube. Read our article for suggestions on cleaning a laboratory homogenizer.

Contact the homogenizing professionals at CAT Scientific for advice, or send us your question.



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Bob Wilcox

Bob Wilcox has represented CAT Scientific’s family of homogenizers, magnetic stirrers, liquid handling and related laboratory equipment since 2002 when Staufen, Germany-based CAT Ingenieurbüro M. Zipperer GMbH established operations in North America. Bob oversees CAT Scientific laboratory apparatus sales and service organization from the company’s headquarters in Paso Robles, CA. He also is in charge of the parent company’s line of JetCat jet turbines, turboprop, and helicopter power plants for hobbyists’ radio controlled fixed wing and helicopter model aircraft. -- Earlier in Bob’s career he was involved in visual and special effects as well as camera and electronics supervisory responsibilities for the motion picture and television industry.

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