Cell Disruption is a process of releasing the biological content from a cell. Cell disruption is process of obtaining intracellular fluid via methods that opens up cell wall. An overall goal in cell disruption is to obtain intracellular fluid without disrupting any of its components. It is usually performed in either a slightly hypo-osmotic or an iso-osmotic medium to preserve morphological integrity.
Cell disruption is an essential initial preparative step for the purification of intracellular protein products. The disruption of tissues and cells is necessary for extraction and retrieval of desired products, as cell disruption significantly enhances recovery of biological products (down streaming process).
Many bio-technologically produced compounds are intracellular and must be released from cells before recovery. The efficient recovery of products requires cell disruption, which can be achieved by using different methods and technologies, either mechanical or non-mechanical methods. Disruption technique varies depending on type of cell and its cell wall composition.
The cell disruption is an initial step in a purification procedure such as blood, protein purification, etc. in which cell or tissue are disrupted to release protein and intracellular content of cell into the appropriate buffer.
Methods used depend on product, cell type and scale. The cell disruption methods which are commonly used include bead mill, sonication and french press. Other possible methods are utilization of enzymes, detergents and osmotic shock.
Several types of cell disruption methods exist, as biological products may be extracellular, intracellular or periplasmic. Cell disruption methods can be categorized into mechanical and non-mechanical.
Mechanical methods are divided into solid shear methods and liquid shear methods. Non-mechanical methods can be divided into physical methods, chemical methods and enzymatic methods.
Factors in Cell Disruption
Certain factors must be considered in order to obtain viable cellular products from disruption of cells. Factors to be considered for cell disruption include:
- Efficiency of Disruption.
- Stability of component to be isolated: It is important to combine materials in cell disruption with the conditions required to keep the component intact and pure.
- Sample size: Large sample size pose problems in reproducibility of pure products.
- Ability to disrupt cell: More time and power are required to obtain intracellular components from cells harder to disrupt.
Problems with Cell Disruption methods
Though cell disruption is necessary for obtaining intracellular fluid, process of disruption could pose problems in purification of certain bio-molecules. Some adverse effects of cell disruption includes:
- Heat generation.
- Contamination (Nucleic acids, heavy metal, etc.)
- Release of proteases.
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