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Advantages of Microfluidizer® Processors for Cell Disruption

Microfluidics offers technologies to meet the variable and demanding needs for cell disruption, from gentle disruption of cultured mammalian cells to the challenging disruption of yeast and other fungi.

The advantages of Microfluidizer® processors for cell disruption are hard to ignore. Here are some of the benefits of this high-yield cell lysis technology:

Easy to use and low maintenance

Customers that use our Microfluidizer® technology for cell disruption like that the equipment is easy to use and clean. Multiple users in a lab can be comfortable with this technology because it does not require specialized skills or knowledge.

Very little maintenance is required compared to traditional high-pressure homogenizers. Homogenizer valves have to be disassembled and cleaned manually, and reinstalling the valves requires specialist knowledge.

High Yield Cell Disruption

With a Microfluidizer® processor, the cooling is efficient and the protein and enzyme yields are therefore very good. During the cell disruption process, cooling is extremely important because the contents of the biological cells are typically temperature sensitive; in many cases, they start to denature at temperatures above 4°C.

Within the Microfluidizer® technology, the temperatures can certainly go above 4°C, but if the cooling devices are used well – with ice water for example – the amount of time at elevated temperatures in the Microfluidizer® processor is minimal. Exit temperatures of 40-50o C need not always be unacceptable because heat denaturation of proteins is dependent on time as well as temperature. The residence time in the Microfluidizer® processor of 25ms- 40ms2 is much shorter than in an HPH. The HPH heats the sample higher and longer—hence the increased denaturation that can be seen in the yield data.


When we demo Microfluidizer® processors, the first comment we typically hear is “Wow, this is very fast.” A Microfluidizer® processor can process samples in a very short time compared to alternative methods. Dobrovetsky reports using 2 passes at 15,000 psi in an M110EH vs. 3 passes at 17,000 psi in an Avestin Emulsiflex-C34.

Lower Viscosity

The viscosity of the lysed cell suspension is important. If the viscosity is high it can make downstream handling (e.g., filtration and accurate pipetting) difficult. The viscosity of the cell disintegrate after one pass through a high-pressure homogenizer is very high but decreases rapidly on further passes. Cell disruption with the Microfluidizer® technology gives a viscosity that is quite low already after one pass and decreases even more on further passes.

Improved Filtration

Cell disruption with the Microfluidizer® processor gives an overall better separation of the cell disintegrates compared to the HPH. A Microfluidizer® processor will break the cells efficiently but gently, resulting in large cell wall fragments. Particles produced by the Microfluidizer® processor are 450nm c.f. 190nm for the HPH These large fragments are easier to separate from the cell contents, give shorter filtration times and better centrifugation separation than the material produced by other methods, in particular HPH. 

Related article: Common Cell Disruption Techniques And Technologies

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Posted by Steve Mesite
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