Spiral Mill

yeast cell disruption

$1490 including free worldwide shipping

Trial offer, please contact us for details

Specifically designed for gram quantities of tough microorganismsbead homogenizer

Numerous devices exist which are effective for disruption of very small samples in micro-centrifuge tubes, usually for the purpose of releasing DNA or small amount of protein.
The manufacturers of these devices highlight disruption rates from these small samples (e.g. 95% of cells disrupted in 60 seconds, etc), often omitting to mention the organism disrupted or the tiny sample size.
Conversely, such manufacturers are less forthcoming with test data for larger samples (gram quantities) of named, difficult to disrupt organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Chlorella vulgaris.                                                
The Spiral Mill is specifically designed for temperature controlled lysis of 1 g to 6 g samples of tough microorganisms such as yeast and algae.  We provide detailed performance data for a range of sample sizes and organisms

Performance data examples for the Spiral Mill

chlorella vulgaris algae disruption

A 3 g wet weight sample of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is 90% disrupted in 5 minutes, while a 6 g sample is 76% disrupted in 5 minutes.

Similarly, a 2 g wet weight sample of the algae Chlorella vulgaris is 95% disrupted after 5 minutes processing with the Spiral Mill.

A 3 g wet weight sample of Pichia fermentans is 87% disrupted in 5 minutes.

A 3g wet weight samples of Haematococcus Pluvialis, an algae used for production of astaxanthin, is 70% disrupted after 10 minutes.  These H. Pluvialis tests were conducted using cells in the stressed, thick cell wall state.

Nemotode extraction disruption

The Spiral mill is effective for disruption of the nematode species Heterorhabditis bacteriophora.  The accompanying image is of the infective juvenile stage, a point in the life cycle at which cuticle disruption is particularly difficult.  90% of these nematodes are disrupted after 5 minutes lysis.  The quantities disrupted were 480,000, 48,000 and 4,800 individuals in a total buffer volume of  1.2 ml.


Unique disruption method employing conductive grinding chambers

The Spiral Mill is a novel type of bead beater which disrupts cells by agitating a mixture of glass beads, cells and buffer in a conductive grinding chamber.  The patent-pending design involves stainless steel coil rotates at high speed inside the grinding chamber.  In the narrow space between the coil and the chamber wall, violent collisions occur between the glass beads, leading to fast, effective cell disruption.

Uniquely, these disposable stainless steel grinding chambers remain in a fixed position during cell disruption and are thus easily cooled by pumped ice water.  This simple, reliable approach means that the expensive and elaborate cooling systems (peltier coolers, liquid nitrogen, dry ice, often used in conjunction with compressed air) employed by our competitors are unnecessary.  Sample temperature is maintained at approximately 20C during cell disruption.

General information on cell disruption using glass beads

The technique of disrupting yeast, fungus or other cells by agitation with small glass beads was first developed in the 1970s by Tim Hopkins.  He also coined the term “bead beater”, which has become the standard way of describing this approach to cell disruption, although the description “bead homogenizer” is sometimes employed.

The aim of bead beating (and other approaches to opening cells) is accessing intracellular contents.  Protein extraction or isolation of DNA/RNA is thus achieved by agitating beads with cells and buffer.  The ratio of cells to beads and buffer is crucial to successful bead beating.  As a general rule, the volume of the “slurry” of cells and buffer should be kept as low as possible when compared to the volume of beads.

A key point to remember when using bead beater type devices is that for some applications, a high molarity buffer (which therefore has a high buffering capacity) is essential, as otherwise release of cell contents into a small volume of buffer will result in potentially problematic pH changes.

These and other issue are discussed in detail in our protocols section (Yeast lysate, bead beater protocols), which includes optimized ratios, volumes and molarities for effective bead beating.