Using Lab Homogenizers for Medical Research

Lab homogenizers offered by CAT Scientific play an important role in medical research and the development of new pharmaceuticals.  Controllable-speed scientific homogenizers are used to emulsify, disperse, mix and otherwise process various substances including liquids such as emulsions, slurries, and pastes as well as more abrasive media such as powders using the homogenizer generator.

The generator consists of a rotor shaft powered by the drive motor and the stator, which is screwed onto a stationary tube attached to the drive motor housing.  The base of the rotor has sharply machined teeth that work against complimentary machined sharp slots in the stator.  When operating the homogenizer draws samples up into the generator assembly and violently propels it against and through the stator slots to perform the mixing, emulsifying and dispersing action.

Generator assemblies come in different diameters and lengths and can be used to process samples from 0.1 ml to 20 liters in size.  Generator design is governed primarily by the substances being processed and the objective of the procedure.  Design is generally characterized to work with as medium, low and fine viscosity materials.  Knife generators are used to shred fibrous biological materials for further analysis.

For safety reasons and to avoid potential breakage lab homogenizers should be affixed to an adjustable mounting platform to hold the generator assembly mechanism firmly in the flask or beaker and slightly offset to avoid creating a vortex.   They should be immersed in the sample before being turned on, and speed should be controlled with a slow start to avoid splashing samples out of the container.

Other Medical Processing Options

Coupling the homogenizer drive motor to a flow through chamber creates an inline processing system that performs the homogenizing action while transporting samples from one vessel to another – or back to the same vessel.  Two models are available from CAT Scientific.  The smaller DK30 chamber processes 2,000 to 3,000 liters per hour; the larger DK40 processes to 5,000 liters per hour and is equipped with a water-cooled jacket.  Sample dwell time in both units can be controlled by restricting the outlet tubes.

Particle size reduction is accomplished by attaching the AX60 analytical mill to the powerful X1000 homogenizer drive motor.  Its dust-tight upper and lower chamber houses stainless or carbide blades to quickly pulverize samples volumes up to 180cc for further processing.  The mill can be cooled with water or liquid nitrogen.

Medical Homogenizer Maintenance

Cleaning and sterilizing rotor-stator generator assemblies is a must in all applications but particularly critical in medical and pharmaceutical applications.   The first step is removing residues by disassembly then rinsing components in water followed by carefully scrubbing them with a brush in a disinfecting solution.  Exercise care due to the sharp edges on rotors and stators.  Sterilizing can be accomplished in autoclaves at temperatures to 121⁰C and pressures to 15 psi for 60 minutes.  Follow the instruction manual for exact procedures and to avoid heat damage to bearings and seals in the shaft.

Please feel free to contact us for information on the use of lab homogenizers in the medical and pharmaceutical field, and for recommendations on the correct homogenizer model for your needs.

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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.

1 Comment

  1. Julian Henneberry on May 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

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