Ultrasonics for Vaccine Production

Ultrasonics is a proven method to destroy or inactivate viruses, bacteria and yeast. Additionally, sonicators are reliable for the lysis of cells, e.g. viral or bacterial cells and the release of intracellular matter, e.g. proteins, DNA/RNA, enzymes and bioactives. Therefore, Hielscher sonicators are frequently used as reliable cell and virus treatment techniques during vaccine manufacturing. Subsequently, ultrasonic homogenisation is used to formulate solid-lipid nano-carriers or liposomes, whilst ultrasonic dispersion and deagglomeration are applied at various steps during vaccine production to obtain a homogeneous suspension.

Ultrasonic Vaccine Production

For the preparation of vaccines, including inactivated, attenuated, protein subunit or conjugate vaccines, cells have to be either inactivated, lysed or killed. With the appropriate dose and intensity of sonication, cells and microbes can be treated in accordance to the process goal.

Apply ultrasonic waves to:

  • disrupt and lysate cells
  • inactivate viral and bacterial cells
  • release of intracellular material, e.g. proteins, antigens
  • stimulate bacterial activity
  • prepare nano drug carriers
  • activate/ inactivate enzymes
  • prepare nano-emulsions and double emulsions

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Ultrasonic homogenizer for vaccine manufacturing. Hielscher sonicators are used  for cell lysis, to homogenize cell suspensions, to stimulate cell growth, for encapsulation, for adjuvant protein binding and antigen dispersion.

Ultrasonic vaccine production system: Sonicator UIP2000hdT with stainless steel reactor

More Applications of Sonicators in Vaccine Production

In vaccine production, Hielscher sonicators play a crucial role in various stages, including antigen production, encapsulation, formulation, and the essential degassing step prior to filling vaccines into vials or syringes.
Antigen Dispersion:
In order to achieve a stable vaccine formulation, it is imperative that antigens, such as cell fragments or protein antigens, are uniformly dispersed into suspensions, polymers, or liposomal encapsulations. Sonication has been a proven and long-standing technique in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, demonstrating its efficacy in preparing fine dispersions, making it an established tool in modern vaccine production.
Mixing and homogenization of adjuvants into vaccine formulations is reliably and efficiently achieved by sonication. One common type of adjuvant used in vaccine formulations is aluminum-based adjuvants, composed of tiny primary particles that can easily aggregate into a functional unit. For successful integration with antigens, a uniform distribution of antigens throughout the aluminum-containing vaccine is necessary. Ultrasonic dispersion serves this purpose by preparing homogeneous dispersions of antigens and adjuvants, such as Alhydrogel™.
Pathogen Inactivation:
Moreover, power ultrasound finds application in the inactivation of pathogens like bacteria and viruses. When it comes to preparing an effective colibacillosis vaccine, ultrasonic deactivation of E. coli, followed by irradiation, has been proven to be the most potent technique.
Microbial Inactivation and Stabilization:
Sonicator UP200Ht with micro-tip (probe) is used in pharmaceutical and vaccine production in order to disrupt cells and to encapsulate drugy into liposomal and nano-structured formulationsConventionally, microbial inactivation is achieved through thermal pasteurization and sterilization, which involve prolonged exposure to high temperatures, often leading to thermal-induced deterioration of functional properties. However, the combination of sonication and heat, known as thermo-sonication, offers a faster rate of sterilization with significantly reduced thermal intensity and duration. This is particularly advantageous for preserving heat-sensitive compounds, such as proteins and antigens. The process of ultrasonic sterilization and pasteurization is not only cost-efficient but also energy-saving and environmentally friendly.
Liposomes and Nanocarriers:
Hielscher sonicators are used to formulate drugs and vaccines into liposomes and nanostructured drug carriers such as solid-lipid nanoparticles. Sonication is an efficacious and reliable technique to encapsulate active ingredients into liposomes and nanoparticles. During ultrasonic encapsulation, precise control over the size of liposomes and nanocarriers is allowed, leading to a more consistent and uniform drug delivery system. Simultaneously, probe-type sonicators enable for enhanced drug loading: The mechanical forces generated during sonication aid in improving drug encapsulation efficiency, ensuring a higher amount of drug is incorporated into the carriers. with ultrasonic encapsulation comes also improved stability since sonication promotes the formation of stable liposomes and nanocarriers, which are essential for their successful application in vaccine delivery.

Ultrasonic preparation of solid-lipid nanoparticles produces nano-structured drug carriers with a high bioavailability, high stability and low cytotoxicity

Steps of ultrasonic production of Solid-Lipid Nanoparticles
(Kumar et al. 2019)


Find in-depth information and scientific studies on specific sonication-assited vaccine applications:

Ultrasonic Vaccine Preparation on Lab and Industrial Scale

Hielscher Ultrasonics offers a broad range of ultrasonic devices from lab scale sonicators to full industrial-grade ultrasound homogenizers for commercial production. We cover your needs from small ultrasonicators for your research department up to the full-stream processing of your commercially produced pharmaceuticals.

Reliable and Adjustable to Your Application Needs

By adjusting the parameters of ultrasonic processing, the effects of sonication can be precisely controlled. This means that a low amplitude and short sonication has very soft effects, while high amplitudes, elevated pressure and longer sonication duration results in intense processing.
Hielscher supplies powerful ultrasonic devices that can be precisely controlled in accordance to the process requirements. Manifold sonotrodes and accessories complete the offering.

This video clip shows the Hielscher ultrasonic homogenizer UP100H, an ultrasonicator widely used for sample preparation in laboratories.

Ultrasonic Homogenizer UP100H

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Safe and Clean

Hielscher ultrasonicators can be easily installed in cleanroom laboratories and production facilities. The housings of our devices are made from antibacterial plastic or stainless steel. All wetted parts, such as our sonotrodes and flow cells, are made from titanium or stainless steel and can be autoclaved.
Hielscher Ultrasonics offer a manifold range of standard probe-type sonicators and accessories as well as customized equipment.


  • precisely adjustable to the process
  • clean & hygienic processing
  • highly reproducible
  • linear scale-up
  • easy & safe operation
  • reliable & robust equipment
  • high efficiency
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    Please use the form below to request additional information about our sonicators, vaccine-and life science-related applications as well as prices. We will be glad to discuss your biochemical process with you and to offer you an ultrasonic homogenizer meeting your requirements!

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    The video shows the ultrasonic sample preparation system UIP400MTP, which allows for the reliable sample preparation of any standard multi-well plates using high-intensity ultrasound. Typical applications of the UIP400MTP include cell lysis, DNA, RNA, and chromatin shearing as well as protein extraction.

    Ultrasonicator UIP400MTP for multi-well plate sonication

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    Industrial ultrasonic homogenizer with flow-cell reactor

    The MultiSonoReactor MSR-4 is an industrial inline reactor for the ultrasonic production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines

    Prepare Tissue
    Disrupt Cells
    Prepare Lysates
    Extract DNA / RNA
    Extract Proteins
    Homogenize Susupensions
    Emulsify Liposomes
    Stimulate Bacterial Activity
    Accelerate Enzymatic Reactions
    Accelerate Chemical Reactions
    Prepare Emulsions
    Disperse Powders
    Degas Liquids
    Deaglomerate Particles
    Dissolve Powders
    Dissolve Tablets

    Facts Worth Knowing

    Ultrasonic tissue homogenizers are often referred to as probe sonicator/ sonificator, sonic lyser, ultrasound disruptor, ultrasonic grinder, sono-ruptor, sonifier, sonic dismembrator, cell disrupter, ultrasonic disperser, emulsifier or dissolver. The different terms result from the various applications that can be fulfilled by sonication.

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