Dedicated, fearless, tenacious, passionate – these are just a few attributes to describe my dear colleague and good friend Mirjana.
Large-scale sample disruption
Analysis of nucleic acids and proteins from biological samples are often a crucial part of medical and biochemical applications. Therefore, a fast and efficient method is needed for releasing these biomolecules from biological samples. Usually mechanical, physical, chemical and/or enzymatic methods are used to disrupt the biological matrixes and cells. In medium- to high-throughput workflows, bead-mill technology has proven to be an efficient method for disruption and homogenization of tissue samples and other biological materials. The mechanical disruption is the result of high-speed shaking of samples mixed with stainless steel, tungsten, carbide or glass beads, thereby beating and grinding the samples until they are sufficiently disrupted. This method is often combined with enzymatic lysis and/or physical disruption using liquid nitrogen for more efficient disruption and homogenization.
Fast release of biomolecules
A variety of fresh and frozen sample types are suitable for bead-mill disruption, including plant material and animal tissues. Some sample types, such as plant material, may require a pre-treatment in liquid nitrogen in order to properly release the biomolecules. Proper disruption leads to complete disruption of cell walls and membranes, while homogenization takes it further, shearing high-molecular-weight cellular proteins and carbohydrates. To ensure high yields, it is crucial that both the speed and the duration of the disruption/homogenization process are sufficient. A complete homogenization results in a homogeneous lysate, which subsequently can be used to give high yields of nucleic acids or proteins of interest in downstream purification protocols, thereby providing necessary material for downstream genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics applications.