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An automated low cost instrument for simultaneous multi-sample tissue homogenization

: Size, A.; Sharon, A.; Sauer-Budge, A.


Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing 27 (2011), No.2, pp.276-281
ISSN: 0736-5845
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPT ()

Tissue homogenization is a common sample preparation procedure in the analysis of clinical samples, but to date there has been no good way to incorporate it into high throughput assays. The classic mortar and pestle is still in common use in laboratories for homogenizing small samples in low quantities. Blenders and high pressure valve processors are used when large quantities of tissue must be homogenized. There are two technologies in the market that process multiple samples simultaneously: bead beating and sonication. Both have been implemented on a standard microplate form factor, but have their drawbacks. Bead beating requires the careful addition and subsequent removal and sanitizing of the beads, which can be a costly and time-intensive process. Sonication works well only with very small samples and does not always give consistent results. This paper describes the development of a new instrument that is capable of quickly homogenizing an array of unique tissue sa mples directly in a microplate. The instrument requires no special training to achieve uniform, repeatable results, and is thus adaptable to semi- and fully automated equipment. Additionally, the system is easy to clean and sterilize, has adjustable speed and force to control shear and unwanted heating, and is useful for sample sizes ranging the entire breadth needed for clinical samples (microliters to milliliters).