Ultrasonic Cell Disintegration
Cell suspensions consisting in vegetal, mammelian or microbial cells require an efficient and reliable technique, which disrupts the cell walls or membranes and makes the intracellular material available for subsequent processes or analysis. Ultrasonic cell disintegrators are mechanical disintegrators, which efficiently rupture cells (e.g. vegetables, leaves, stems), tissues (e.g. mammalian cells, muscle, liver, heart) and microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, molds, actinomycetes, micro- and macro-algae, yeasts). Ultrasonic disintegration is a purely mechanical cell disruption method, which makes sonication highly efficient and reliable when it comes to the lysis of cells. Therefore ultrasonic cell disintegrators are often also referred as ultrasonic cell crushers, cell grinders, cell pulverizers or cell lysing equipment.
How a Mechanical Disintegrator Works
Ultrasonic lab disintegrators use the same mechanical principle as industrial disintegrators do. Disintegrator mixing systems disintegrate cells, solubilize solid matter or disperse solid particles in liquid mixes. Ultrasonic disintegration incorporates a high-intensity ultrasonic probe in a batch tank or in an in-line flow cell reactor. The ultrasonic disintegrator probe vibrates in the liquid at a very high frequency and creates intense ultrasonic cavitation in the liquid. Each cavitation bubble collapse results in powerful shear forces, that rupture cells, fibers, agglomerates and even solid particles. Also, ultrasonic cavitation produces high-speed cavitational streaming with up to 1000km/h. The cavitational liquid jets impinge particle agglomerates, rupture cell walls, improve material transfer within the slurry and disperse solids throughout the liquid volume. In the ultrasonic cavitation field, pressures alternate quickly and repeatedly between vacuum and up to 1000bar. A rotary mixer with 4 mixer blades would need to operate at a staggering 300,000 RPM to achieve the same frequency of alternating pressure cycles. Conventional rotary mixers and rotor-stator mixers create no significant amount of cavitation because of their limitation in speed.
Ultrasonic disintegrators are commonly known as cell disintegrators or cell disrupters. Ultrasonic cavitation is an effective means to break plant material or tissue into smaller fragments. Ultrasonic cavitation is an effective means for the fibrillation of fibers or for the extraction of botanical extracts. Sonicating cell walls of fresh or dried cellular materials can be very selective and the selection of the solvent is a relevant factor of disintegration. Ultrasonic disintegrators are compatible with almost any solvent. The rapidly alternating liquid pressure pushes liquid through the cell membrane during the high-pressure cycle, and it extracts the liquid from the cell during the low pressure (vacuum) cycle. This happens more than 20,000 time per second. The repeated ultrasonic cavitation stress weakens cell structures and finally bursts cells into smaller fragments, resulting in fast and effective cell disintegration. Its effectiveness makes sonication a disintegration intensifying technology.
Probe type ultrasonic devices are a very useful tool in every lab. An ultrasonic probe is a simple geometry and easy-to-clean Titanium rod that couples ultrasonic vibrations into a liquid. Hielscher makes ultrasonic probes and tips in a wide range of sizes. For the most common disintegration of solids in the lab, ultrasonic probes of 3, 7, 14, or 22mm tip diameter are very useful. Other probe sizes and custom-size ultrasonic probes are available. Typical ultrasonic devices for laboratory disintegration range from 100 to 400 watts ultrasonic power.
Hielscher industrial disintegrators are high power ultrasonic devices designed for heavy-duty continuous disintegration. Industrial ultrasonic probes come with a flange that can be mounted to steel tanks, glass vessels or plastic containers in any orientation. Typical ultrasonic industrial disintegration equipment ranges from 1000 to 16,000 watts of ultrasonic power per probe.
- Biology / Microbiology
- Sample prep before analysis
- Medical research
- Food processing (e.g., flavour extraction, nutrient extraction, texture modification)
- Biomass digestion
- Waste water treatment (sludge)
How to Buy High-Performance Ultrasonic Cell Disintegrators
Hielscher Ultrasonics is long-time experienced manufacturer of high-performance ultrasonic cell disintegrators. As market leader, Hielscher designs, manufactures and distributes ultrasonic homogenizers from lab and bench top up to full-industrial scale.
We help you to answer the following questions in order to find the most suitable ultrasonic disintegrator for your application and needs:
- What is your target application?
- What is the typical volume that must be processed?
- What are the critical factors of the process?
- What are the quality standards, which must be achieved?
Our well trained and experienced staff will assist you with any questions and the conception of your process. Hielscher Ultrasonics offers an in-depth consulting on ultrasonic processes to help our customers finding the optimal ultrasonic device. But Hielscher’s service does not end here, we train customers either at their facilities or in our ultrasonic process lab and technical center to assist them during process development, optimization and scale-up.
Hielscher Ultrasonics’ industrial ultrasonic processors easily deliver very high amplitudes, which are required to break stiff cell walls. Hielscher industrial disintegrators can be run with amplitudes of up to 200µm continuously in 24/7 operation. For even higher amplitudes, customized ultrasonic sonotrodes are available. Further accessories such as booster horns, flow cells, sonication reactors and complete recirculation setups are readily available and allow to configure your ultrasonic system specified to your process requirements.
Intelligent Cell Disintegrators
Hielscher Ultrasonics focusses on high-performance cell disintegrators with highest user friendliness and state-of-the-art technical advances. This means that the standards of Hielscher lab disintegrators adapt more and more to the intelligence of industrial machinery. The user can control Hielscher’s digital ultrasonicators via browser remote control. The automatic data recording software writes all important ultrasonic parameters such as net power, total power, amplitude, temperature, pressure, time and date as CSV file on a built-in SD-card. Furthermore, the ultrasonic disintegrator can be programmed to automatic shut-off after a determined time or energy input or to pulsating sonication modes. Pluggable temperature and pressure sensors allow for tracking the sample conditions carefully. Since temperature-control of biological samples is often a crucial factor for the quality of the process results, Hielscher offers various solutions to keep the process temperature in the targeted temperature range.
The sophisticated functions of Hielscher ultrasonicators assure the highest process control, reliable and reproducible sonication results, user-friendliness and working comfort.
Quality – Made in Germany
As a family-owned and family-run business, Hielscher takes pride in the high quality of its ultrasonic processors. All ultrasonicators are designed, manufactured and tested in our headquarter in Teltow near Berlin, Germany. The robustness of Hielscher’s ultrasonic equipment allows for 24/7 operation at heavy duty and in demanding environments.
You can buy Hielscher ultrasonic disintegrators in all different sizes. From the cell disintegration in small cryo-vials for medical research to the continuous flow disintegration of slurries, Hielscher Ultrasonics has a suitable size of disintegrator for you! Please contact us – we are glad to recommend you the most suitable ultrasonicator!
The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:
|Batch Volume||Flow Rate||Recommended Devices|
|1 to 500mL||10 to 200mL/min||UP100H|
|10 to 2000mL||20 to 400mL/min||UP200Ht, UP400St|
|0.1 to 20L||0.2 to 4L/min||UIP2000hdT|
|10 to 100L||2 to 10L/min||UIP4000hdT|
|n.a.||10 to 100L/min||UIP16000|
|n.a.||larger||cluster of UIP16000|
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Literature / References
- Brandy Verhalen , Stefan Ernst, Michael Börsch, Stephan Wilkens (2012): Dynamic Ligand-induced Conformational Rearrangements in P-glycoprotein as Probed by Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Spectroscopy. J Biol Chem. 2012 Jan 6;287(2): 1112-27.
- Claudia Lindemann, Nataliya Lupilova, Alexandra Müller, Bettina Warscheid, Helmut E. Meyer, Katja Kuhlmann, Martin Eisenacher, Lars I. Leichert (2013): Redox Proteomics Uncovers Peroxynitrite-Sensitive Proteins that Help Escherichia coli to Overcome Nitrosative Stress. J Biol Chem. 2013 Jul 5; 288(27): 19698–19714.
- Elahe Motevaseli, Mahdieh Shirzad, Seyed Mohammad Akrami, Azam-Sadat Mousavi, Akbar Mirsalehian, Mohammad Hossein Modarressi (2013): Normal and tumour cervical cells respond differently to vaginal lactobacilli, independent of pH and lactate. Microbiol. 2013 Jul; 62(Pt 7):1065-1072.
- Nico Böhmer, Andreas Dautel, Thomas Eisele, Lutz Fischer (2012): Recombinant expression, purification and characterisation of the native glutamate racemase from Lactobacillus plantarum NC8. Protein Expr Purif. 2013 Mar;88(1):54-60.