Performance data

Competitor comparison

The Spiral Mill does one thing, and does it well.

It is designed for cooled disruption of 1 g to 6 g samples of tough microorganisms, such as yeast and algae.

Costly devices exist which aim to process a wide range of sample sizes.  They are often effective for simultaneously disrupting multiple small samples, but are much less effective for bigger samples.

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, Chlorella vulgaris, Kluyveromyces marxianus or Pichia fermentans.

Below, we provide detailed performance data for a variety of such organisms.

Spiral Mill performance data

cell disruption species

Figure 1. Percentage disruption over 5 minutes for a variety of tough microorganisms.


saccharomyces cerevisiae disruption vs time

Figure 2.  Cell disruption occurs rapidly, 82% of cells are broken at 3 minutes, 90% are broken at 5 minutes.
The orange circle in this and subsequent graphs represent the standard test condition, i.e. 5 minutes using a cell/buffer/bead ratio of 3 g frozen, thawed and washed cells, 1.5 ml buffer and 5.75 g 0.5 mm glass beads.


The effect on performance of changing test conditions

Successful bead beating, regardless of the equipment used, depends on careful choice of a cell/buffer/bead ratio. For example, overly viscous samples lead to poor cell disruption.  Similarly, as can be seen in Figure 5 below, reducing the quantity of beads employed below a certain threshold leads to a rapid drop in performance.

The data provided below is intended to assist customers in choosing the correct conditions for cell disruption.

mechanical cell lysis

Figure 3.  The Spiral Mill is effective over a sample range of 1 g to 6 g, with optimal performance at 3 g. The orange data point represents the standard test condition (descibed in Figure 2 above).  The other two data points represent tests involving the same cell/buffer/bead ratio but with differing sample sizes.


cell disruption saccharomyces cerevisiae

Figure 4.  More beads and buffer can be used without greatly affecting performance.  The orange data point represents a test using the standard cell/buffer/bead ratio (employed in Figure 2 above).  The other two data points also represent tests involving 3 g samples, but with greater quantities of buffer and beads.


breaking yeast cells beads

Figure 5.  Reducing the amount of beads can greatly reduce performance.