BioSpec has provided innovative laboratory equipment for 40 years. Most of their products are of their own design.

Many are "firsts” for example, introduction of the MiniBeatbeater™ established the popular method for cell and tissue disruption commonly called "beadbeating".

Biospec concentrate in delivering quality products at affordable prices and continue to bring new instruments for cell and tissue disruption to the market.


Product Categories

Homogenizers and Cell Disrupters

Proteins and nucleic acids are most often recovered from cells and tissue in a laboratory setting using mechanical methods.  Several factors come into play when choosing the best the method for your application.  They include cell or tissue type,  sample size, desired sample through-put, efficiency and speed of disruption, disruption reproducibility, sample containment, disruptor clean up and disruptor maintence.

Hamilton Beach is the worlds largest manufacturer of commercial grade blenders. The model 909 comes with a one liter stainless steel container and can handle the toughest job required from a blade blender.

 

Although less efficient than rotor-stator homogenizers, blade homogenizers (commonly called laboratory blenders) have been utilized for decades to produce fine brie and extracts from plant and animal tissue. They are fast, have a good working volume and are easy to clean. Compared to other types of homogenizers, they are relatively inexpensive.  Blenders cannot efficiently disrupt microorganisms.

Product Product Code
1 Liter Hamilton Beach Blender – 115 volt model 909-BSP
1 Liter Hamilton Beach Blender – 230 volt model 909EUR-BSP

The BeadBeater is the ultimate laboratory-scale homogenizer for disrupting aqueous suspensions of yeast, fungi or bacteria.  Complete cell lysis of 10-80 g (wet weight) of cells is achieved in about three minutes of operation.

The BeadBeater comes complete with a 350 ml polycarbonate chamber, rotor assembly, motor base, ice-water cooling jacket, and glass beads.

Product Product Code
Beadbeater, Complete 220v 1107900EUR

The BioHomogenizer is a rotor-stator type tissue homogenizer designed to rapidly homogenize, disperse, and emulsify biological samples in aqueous media from 1 to 1000 ml.  The BioHomogenizer includes both the motor and probe.

Product Product Code
BioHomogenizer, 1.4cm, 115 Volt  1281
BioHomogenizer, 1.4cm, 230 volt 1281EUR
BioHomogenizer Generator, 1.4cm Probe 1281G
BioHomogenizer, 2.5cm, 115 volt 1285
BioHomogenizer, 2.5cm 230 volt 1285EUR
BioHomogenizer Generator, 2.5cm probe 1285G
Stand for Tissue-Tearor, Biomixer and BioHomogenizer 1281S

The powerful 10,000 rpm motor is totally sealed and can be hand-held or stand mounted. During operation, the suspended material is repeatedly cycled through 12 narrow slits in the stator by the action of a high speed rotor. The material is rapidly sheared and disintegrated by the high frequency mechanical action. Complete homogenization of soft tissue (muscle, liver, brain, etc.) is usually achieved in one minute or less. Samples may be processed in a test tube chilled during treatment by immersion in an ice bath. Other applications include dispersion and emulsification of dairy and cosmetic products.

The BioHomogenizer comes complete.

A low cost, versatile high-speed mixer and blender.  Perfect for blade blending in open beakers, jars, and bowls. Swiss-made.

Product Product Code
BioMixer, 115 Volt Complete  10810 

The BioMixer is a versatile high-speed blender/mixer. Designed for one-hand operation, the BioMixer can be used with any suitable beaker or vessel having at least a 2 inch opening. Three stainless steel attachments allow any combination of mixing, emulsifying, shredding or chopping. A grinding mill attachment is included for dry materials such as seeds, grains, plant fibers, pharmaceutical materials, etc.

The BioVortexer™ is a battery-powered motor drive designed to rotate stirring rods or plastic pestles in 1.5 ml microtubes.  Rotating at thousands of revolutions per minute, it makes short work of dispersing centrifugal pellets or grinding small tissue samples.

Product Description Product Code
BioVortexer Complete BioVortexer Stirring Kit.  Includes motor, batteries and 100 – 1/8″X3″ stirring rods.  1083MC
BioVortexer stirring rods, 3in x 1/8in, 500/box  Additional BioVortexer polypropylene stirring rods, 1/8″X3″ (500 count)  183
BioVortexer with SpiralPestles, 100 count BioVortexer Grinding Kit.  Includes motor, batteries, 100 SpiralPestles™ with matching 1.5 ml microvials and sample of SpiralPestle™ Grinding Beads.  1017MC
SpiralPestles & Vials, 100 count Additional SpiralPestles™ with matching 1.5 ml microvials (100 count) and sample of SpiralPestle™ Grinding Beads.  1017

The BioVortexer has two distinct applications…

  • A practical alternative to a conventional vortex mixer for mixing and dispersing samples.  Combined with Disposable Polypropylene Stirring Rods (1/8 X 3″)*, it rapidly re-suspends precipitates such as pellets of protein or DNA.  The working range is 10-500 mg of powdered or homogenized solids in a media volume of 0.5  to 10 ml.  “Take the BioVortexer to the sample instead of the sample to the vortex mixer”.

 

  • A  low cost device to rapidly homogenizing small samples of soft tissue for extraction of proteins and nucleic acids.  The BioVortexer rotates Disposable Polypropylene SpiralPestles™ at ~9000 rpm in 0.6 or 1.5 ml conical microtubes containing sample, extraction media and a small quantity of glass grinding beads.  Complete cell lysis of soft tissue samples is achieved in seconds.

The Cryo-Cup™ Grinder is a mortar and pestle specifically designed to pulverize and powder plant and animal tissue samples at liquid nitrogen temperatures.  It gives superior results compared to conventional ceramic mortar-pestles.

Product Description Product Code
 Cryo-cup Grinder Cryo-cup™ Grinder, complete. Includes two different size polypropylene pestle balls. See below for extra cups (mortars) and pestle balls.  206
Cryo-cup Grinder  206H

The Cryo-Cup Grinder consists of a stainless steel, semicircular bowl (or mortar) imbedded in a double walled, insulating cup. Up to 5 grams of hard frozen tissue is placed in the mortar precooled to liq N2 temperature. Using the special hand-held pestle made of non-heat conducting plastic, the tissue is quickly reduced to a powder. Two different sized pestles are provided for a variety of applications.

The Mini-Beadbeater-16 is a high-energy cell disrupter designed to handle four to sixteen samples at a time.

Product Product Code
 Mini-BeadBeater 16, 230 volt  607EUR

The Mini-BeadBeater-16 disrupts microbial cells and plant and animal tissue by violently agitating four to sixteen 2 ml screw-cap microvials containing small glass, ceramic or steel beads and disruption buffer. Even resistant samples like yeast, spores or fibrous tissue are completely homogenized around 3 minutes in 0.1 to 1 ml of extraction medium. The non-foaming, aerosol-free method preserves enzymes and organelles. In the presence of nucleic acid extraction media such as phenol, Gu-SCN or a commercial kit solution, DNA and RNA are recovered in the highest possible yield. The method is ideal for PAGE, PCR applications and diagnostics using antibody or oligonucleotide probes. Because beads and vials are disposable, there are no cross-contamination concerns when homogenizing multiple samples.

The Mini-Beadbeater-16 can also be used for dry grinding.  Steel beads are added to hard samples such as hair, bone, teeth, seeds and minerals and are completely powdered in 10-60 seconds. Softer materials such as biological tissue, rubber or plastics can also be powdered by first freezing the sample to liqN2 temperatures (a process called Cryo-grinding).  Special break-resistant vials are highly recommended for dry- or cryo-grinding.  The powdered material can be safely extracted with aqueous and most organic solvents in the same vial, thus simplifying recovery of the analytes.

 

See also a short video showing the operation of the MBB-16, see below.

The Mini-Beadbeater-24 disrupts up to 24 microbial or tissue samples with better than 95 percent efficiency. Cells are disrupted quickly and safely in the sealed system. The apparatus is easy to clean, has a small footprint and is essentially maintenance free. Compared to the Minibeadbeater-16, the Mini-24 adds advanced electronics for enhanced motor function, variable speeds of 2400-3800 rpm and a 30% increase in microvial capacity.

Product Product Code
Mini-BeadBeater 24, 230v  112011EUR

The Mini-BeadBeater-24 disrupts microbial cells and plant and animal tissue by violently agitating four to twentyfour 2 ml screw-cap microvials containing small glass, ceramic or steel beads and 0.1 to 1 ml disruption buffer. The performance of the Mini-BeadBeater equals or exceeds that of any other type or brand of cell disrupter. Even resistant samples like yeast, spores or fibrous tissue are completely homogenized in 1-3 minutes. The non-foaming, aerosol-free method preserves enzymes and organelles. In the presence of nucleic acid extraction media such as phenol, Gu-SCN or a commercial kit solution, DNA or RNA is recovered in the highest possible yield. The method is ideal for PAGE, PCR applications, and diagnostics using antibody or oligonucleotide probes. Because the beads and vials are disposable, there is absolutely zero cross-contamination between samples – essential for PCR techniques.

Protocols developed using a different model of the Mini-BeadBeater are transferable with minimal modification.

The Mini-Beadbeater-24 can also be used for dry grinding. Here, steel beads are added to hard samples such as hair, bone, teeth, seeds and minerals and are powdered in 10-60 seconds of operation. Resistant materials such as tendon, cartilage, rubber or some plastics can be powdered by pre-freezing the sample to liquid nitrogen temperatures (cryo-grinding), then grinding in the hard frozen state. Dry-grinding requires using special microvials resistant to breakage. When dry grinding with ceramic or steel beads at room temperature our ‘XXTuff’ microvials are recommended. Our Stainless Steel microvials are available for dry grinding with steel beads at cryo-temperatures.

The Mini-Beadbeater-Plus™ is an upgraded version of the venerable Mini-BeadBeater-1.  Improvements include a programmable timer, a powerful brushless motor and 115/230 VAC compatibility. The high-energy bead-mill rapidly and completely disrupts microorganisms and plant and animal tissue.

Note:  Vials and beads required for the MBB Plus will vary with the particular sample being disrupted and should be purchased separately.

Product Product Code
Mini-BeadBeater 96, 230v  1001EUR

The new Mini-BeadBeater-Plus™ is a high-energy bead-mill designed to violently agitate up to a half gram sample of biological material sealed inside a 2 ml microcentrifuge vial containing tiny glass, zirconia or steel lysing beads. The grinding action of the beads (beadbeating) rapidly disrupts microorganisms and plant and animal tissue in 5-90 seconds.  Being an upgrade of the venerable MiniBeadbeater-1, new features include a programmable timer, a more powerful brushless motor and 115/230 VAC compatibility.
Because cell disruption occurs inside sealed microvials, cross-contamination during homogenization is completely eliminated – an important feature for nucleic acid isolation.  And time is saved because no clean-up is needed between samples.  Sterile technique is easily accommodated for recovery of intracellular virus and bacteria from plant and animal cells and the non-foaming, non-aerosol method is ideal for recovery of enzymes, membranes and intracellular organelles.

The Mini-BeadBeater-Plus is also used for dry- or cryo-grinding.  Heavier zirconia or steel beads and special breakage-resistant microvials are used.  Hard samples such as hair, bone, teeth, seeds, and minerals are powdered in 5 – 30 seconds.  All protocols developed with the Mini-BeadBeater-Plus are transferable to larger, higher-capacity MiniBeadBeater models.

The Mini-Beadbeater-Plus™ is an upgraded version of the venerable Mini-BeadBeater-1.  Improvements include a programmable timer, a powerful brushless motor and 115/230 VAC compatibility. The high-energy bead-mill rapidly and completely disrupts microorganisms and plant and animal tissue.

Note:  Vials and beads required for the MBB Plus will vary with the particular sample being disrupted and should be purchased separately.

Product Product Code
Mini-BeadBeater Plus, 230v  1018

The new Mini-BeadBeater-Plus™ is a high-energy bead-mill designed to violently agitate up to a half gram sample of biological material sealed inside a 2 ml microcentrifuge vial containing tiny glass, zirconia or steel lysing beads. The grinding action of the beads (beadbeating) rapidly disrupts microorganisms and plant and animal tissue in 5-90 seconds.  Being an upgrade of the venerable MiniBeadbeater-1, new features include a programmable timer, a more powerful brushless motor and 115/230 VAC compatibility.
Because cell disruption occurs inside sealed microvials, cross-contamination during homogenization is completely eliminated – an important feature for nucleic acid isolation.  And time is saved because no clean-up is needed between samples.  Sterile technique is easily accommodated for recovery of intracellular virus and bacteria from plant and animal cells and the non-foaming, non-aerosol method is ideal for recovery of enzymes, membranes and intracellular organelles.

The Mini-BeadBeater-Plus is also used for dry- or cryo-grinding.  Heavier zirconia or steel beads and special breakage-resistant microvials are used.  Hard samples such as hair, bone, teeth, seeds, and minerals are powdered in 5 – 30 seconds.  All protocols developed with the Mini-BeadBeater-Plus are transferable to larger, higher-capacity MiniBeadBeater models.

Pulverizers

Pre-Chopping.

No matter what mechanical device is used to homogenize or lyse tissue (bead-mill, tissue grinder, rotor-stator device, ultrasonicator, high-pressure press, etc) the tissue will process faster if it is first reduced to very small pieces (<1 mm pieces).

If the tissue is fresh, size reduction can be done by repetitive chopping with a scalpel or single-edge razor blade.  Another way to pulverize tissue is to freeze it in liq N2 and impact it with with a hammer or a spinning blade.  Called cryopulverization, the method is fast and improves the yield of proteins or nucleic acids after subsequent homogenization steps.

Tools to cryopulverize tissue…

The BioPulverizer quickly fragments hard frozen tissue samples into tiny pieces the size of grains of sand or course powder.  The primary benefit of pulverizing pieces of tissue is to optimize subsequent rapid and complete cell lysis using lytic solutions or mechanical homogenizers. For difficult tissues such as tendon, skin, and tumors it is an essential step. The BioPulverizer is also used at room temperature to fragment friable, dry biomaterial such as non-oily seeds, bone and teeth.

There are four different hand-operated BioPulverizers for quickly pulverizing 10 mg to 10 g of frozen tissue.

Product Product Code
BioPulverizer, 10-100mg  59012N
BioPulverizer, 0.1-1g  59013N
BioPulverizer, 1-10g  59014N
MultiSample BioPulverizer w/inserts and plain pestles  59012MS

The BioSqueezer is used to “snap-freeze” (quickly freeze) 10-100 mg of soft animal and human tissue.  It does the same thing as a classic freeze clamp but is easier to use and gives more reproducable results.

Fresh tissue is compressed into a thin disc about the size of a small coin under pressure from a stainless steel clamp head that has been pre-cooled in liquid nitrogen or dry ice.   Freezing occurs in a few milliseconds, thus offering a “snapshot” of metabolic events in the cells.  The hard frozen disc is easily fragmented by hand or by grinding in a Cryo-Cup mortar and pestle for subsequent rapid extraction of labile nucleic acids*, proteins and other intracellular products.

Very high molecular weight DNA is obtained by cryo-pulverizing hard frozen tissue using one of our dry-milling devices (see Cryo-Cup mortar and pestle, BioPulverizer , or MiniBeadbeater) followed by passive extraction (i.e., minimum physical stirring, pipetting or agitation during the cell lysis step in DNA extraction solution).

Product Product Code
BioSqueezer  1210
BioSqueezer Baggies, 100/ pack  12101

The Cryo-Cup™ Grinder is a mortar and pestle specifically designed to pulverize and powder plant and animal tissue samples at liquid nitrogen temperatures.  It gives superior results compared to conventional ceramic mortar-pestles.

Product Description Product Code
 Cryo-cup Grinder Cryo-cup™ Grinder, complete. Includes two different size polypropylene pestle balls. See below for extra cups (mortars) and pestle balls.  206
Cryo-cup Grinder  206H

Tissue Dispersers

Tissue dispersers are often the starting point when isolating individual cells from samples of tissue. The action of these mechanical devices alone, sometimes in combination with enzymatic digestion of the intracellular matrix, is gentle enough to disperse fresh tissue into individual, viable cells.

As might be expected, no tissue disperser is perfect. Depending on the method used, the dispersion process yields some cells that are no longer viable and there is always a proportion of tissue remaining as small, multicellular aggregates.

 

A low cost, disposable, tissue disperser for up to 100 mg samples of soft tissue (e.g., liver, brain and muscle).  The Dueling Syringes™ tissue disperser is a significant improvement over the classic “syringe-needle-syringe” method of tissue dispersion.  The needle is replaced with an embedded 500 micron stainless steel screen inside a 1 ml polycarbonate syringe.  Manual passage of the sample back and forth through the screen is fast, gentle and efficient.  Sold as a pack of five pairs of syringes.

The DuelingSyringes™ tissue disperser is a low shear method used to recover intact, viable cells or as an initial step in the isolation of high quality intracellular organelles in a native condition.  The disperser consists of a pair of 1 ml syringes connected together via their Luer connections.  One of the syringes has an embedded 500 micron stainless steel screen.  Tissue is loaded into the syringe and forced back and forth through the screen by alternate manual pushing of the syringe plungers.  Compared to the classic syringe-needle-syringe method of tissue dispersion, the DuelingSyringes method is faster and more gentle in the processing of small samples of soft tissue.  Less pushing effort is required and the number of multiple passes from one syringe to the other is decreased.  Glass and metal syringes used in the classic method are replaced with low cost, disposable syringes…thus, cross contamination and clean-up concerns are eliminated.

Product Product Code

DuelingSyringes™ Tissue Disperser

 116

The BioSqueezer is used to “snap-freeze” (quickly freeze) 10-100 mg of soft animal and human tissue.  It does the same thing as a classic freeze clamp but is easier to use and gives more reproducable results.

Fresh tissue is compressed into a thin disc about the size of a small coin under pressure from a stainless steel clamp head that has been pre-cooled in liquid nitrogen or dry ice.   Freezing occurs in a few milliseconds, thus offering a “snapshot” of metabolic events in the cells.  The hard frozen disc is easily fragmented by hand or by grinding in a Cryo-Cup mortar and pestle for subsequent rapid extraction of labile nucleic acids*, proteins and other intracellular products.

* Very high molecular weight DNA is obtained by cryo-pulverizing hard frozen tissue using one of our dry-milling devices (see Cryo-Cup mortar and pestle, BioPulverizer , or MiniBeadbeater) followed by passive extraction (i.e., minimum physical stirring, pipetting or agitation during the cell lysis step in DNA extraction solution).

The Lever Tissue Press prepares tissue as an initial mincing step preceeding mechanical homogenization (cell disruption) or preceeding single cells isolation from solid tissue by digestion of  extracellular connective matrix with proteolytic enzyme. The press eliminates tedious chopping of tissue into little pieces with a scissors or scalpel and produces much smaller tissue pieces.  Unlike many other tissue dispersion/blending devices, no buffer is added in its operation.

Tissue processed in this press must be “soft”, relatively non-fibrous and have high water content.  Acceptible examples are muscle, brain, liver, plant fruits, and some plant roots and tubers.  If the tissue is fatty or partially fibrous, manually trim off the tough or fatty parts before pressing.  Fibrous tissue will interfere with the passage of the soft tissue through the press and lower the yield of dispersed cell material.  Unacceptible tissues are skin, hide, connective tissue, woody or fibrous plant stems, many mature seeds and all dried tissues.

Special App!  Disaggregation of tissue for primary culture – An improved method for enzymatic tissue disaggregation. The incubation period with the digestive enzymes is reduced and diffusion of nutrients and gases in the tissue during incubation is optimized.  Expect to get higher yields of viable cells.

Product Product Code
 Lever Tissue Press  317

Operating Instructions:

1)  Retract the piston of the Lever Tissue Press from its stainless steel “can”.  Add 1 to 10 g of fresh tissue into the cavity of the “can” and insert the piston back into position.

2)  Gripping the two levers, force the piston down the can.  Scrape the dispersed tissue protruding from the bottom of the can with a knife or scapel.  Depending on the amount of connective or fibrous tissue present in the sample, the yield of dispersed tissue will vary from 20-95%.

The MicroMincertm is a compact, hand-operated screw press which macerates 0.5 grams or less of soft1 fresh plant or animal tissue (e.g. muscle, liver, brain, epicotyl and pulpy leaf tissue) without sample loss, heat generation, foaming, or aerosol problems. The sample, without added buffer, is pushed through a 250-micron stainless-steel sieve under thousands of pounds of force.  The tissue emerges from the tip of the MicroMincer having the consistency of liver paté.

In the case of most plant tissues, fibrous pulp is left behind on the sieve while cell juice and intracellular products are extruded.  The resultant extract can be deposited directly in microtubes.

The stainless steel MicroMincer utilizes disposable polypropylene liners. Thus, multiple samples can be quickly processed without a need to clean or risk of contamination between samples.

Product Product Code
 MicroMincer Tissue Press  2941
 MicroMincer Liners, 10pk  294103

HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Put 100 mg to 500 mg of tissue into the barrel of the disposable liner (pre-chopping may be needed). It is usually not necessary to pre-chop soft tissue.
  2. Partially insert the piston/screw into the barrel of the liner and slide the assembly into the press cylinder.
  3. Screw down the press. Extract exits from the pointed end of the liner.  Continue screwing down the press until all of the samples have been extracted. More pressure beyond this point will shear the plastic tip and force it out of the press cylinder. However, because the liner is a disposable item no harm is done.  With very small samples, some of the extracts may remain in the liner tip but can be removed with a micropipette or small spatula.
  4. Unscrew the press and remove the used liner and the used piston seal.

CELL LYSIS

The Screw Tissue Press is used to initially disperse soft animal tissue (e.g., muscle, kidney, spleen, liver) before using mechanical, detergent, or chemical-based methods to lyse the cells. Compared to manually chopping using scissors or a scalpel, much smaller tissue fragments are produced and the cell lysis that follows will be faster and more complete. Notably, the addition of buffer is not required to use the Screw Tissue Press. The dispersed tissue exits the Screw Tissue Press having a consistency much like liver paté or toothpaste.

SINGLE CELL PREPARATION

The Screw Press is also used in the preparation of viable single cells from soft animal tissue by enzymatic digestion of connective matrix.  Screw tissue Press dispersion delivers higher yields of viable cells by significantly reducing incubation time with proteases and enhancing the diffusion of essential nutrients and gases during the incubation with the enzymes.

Product Product Code
 Screw Tissue Press, 10-50 ml  695

Screw Tissue Press Operating Instructions:

Acceptable tissue is soft, relatively non-fibrous, and has high water content.  Examples are muscle, brain, liver, plant fruits, some plant roots, and tubers.  If the tissue sample is partially fibrous, fatty or covered with a tough membrane, first manually trim off the tough or fatty parts.  Fibrous tissue will interfere with the passage of the soft tissue through the press and lower the yield of dispersed cell material.  Skin, hide, cartilaginous tissue, plant stems, wood, and all dried tissues cannot be processed.

1)  Partially retract the piston cylinder of the Screw Tissue Press to make room for the tissue. Unscrew the ‘cap’ with its array of holes from the bottom of the Screw Tissue Press and place 0.5 to 10 g of tissue sample into the cavity of the press.  (For smaller sized samples see our MIcroMincer tissue press below)

Generally, the array of 2 mm diameter holes in the press cap is used. However, if your sample is soft, non-fibrous material with high water content, you can also use the included 500-micron stainless steel wire sieve.  Carefully center the screen on the end of the press cylinder after adding the sample tissue and screw on the press cap.

2)  Manually turn the piston to extrude the tissue. The dispersed tissue will exit the press having a paste- or granular-like texture. Depending on the amount of connective or fibrous tissue present in the sample, the yield of dispersed tissue will vary from 20-95%.

3)  Extruded tissue material can be released from the end of the Screw Tissue Press with a scalpel or single edge razor blade.

The NEW SpiralPestle™ and 1.5 ml Microtube grinder is a significant improvement over traditional smooth-walled polypropylene pestle and tube combinations.  It is used to homogenize culture cells and small samples (<100 mg wet weight) of soft tissue such as liver, brain, and muscle.  It can also be used to disperse centrifugal pellets, precipitates, and other solids.

Product  Description  Product Code
 SpiralPestles and Vials, 100 count SpiralPestles™ with matching 1.5 ml microvials (100 count) and a sample of Spiral Grinding Beads.  1017
BioVortexer with SpiralPestles, 100 count BioVortexer™ Tissue Grinding Kit.  Includes BioVortexer motor drive, batteries, 100 SpiralPestles™ with matching 1.5 ml microvials and a sample of SpiralPestle™ Grinding Beads.  1017MC
SpiralPestle Grinding Beads, 50 cc bottle  SpiralPestle™ Grinding Beads.  Glass beads for pestle and microvial grinders, 50 cc bottle with pour spout.  1017GB

HOW IT WORKS:

The SpiralPestle™ has a unique screw-like pattern on its surface.  The ‘theads’ of the turning pestle serve as a screw pump to draw 10 to 100 mg of soft plant or animal tissue suspended in a 200 to 500 µl of extraction solution to the bottom of the microvial where it is macerated and mechanically dispersed between the rounded bottom of the pestle and vial.  Tissue grinding is further enhanced by including a pinch of glass grinding beads (a sample is included with each SpiralPestle order).

While pestle and microtube grinders are traditionally operated by hand rotation, to achieve optimum homogenization efficiency the SpiralPestle should be combined with a BioVortexer™. The BioVortexer is a low-cost, hand-held mixing motor drive.  With its greatly increased rotational speed (~9000 rpm) and the addition of some glass grinding beads, lysis of soft tissue samples is completed in seconds.

Mixers and Stirrers

A low cost, versatile high-speed mixer and blender.  Perfect for blade blending in open beakers, jars, and bowls. Swiss-made.

Product Product Code
BioMixer, 115 Volt Complete  10810 

The BioRotator-6 is a fully adjustable, rotational mixer designed for a wide variety of mixing needs.

The BioRotator-6 is a compact, rotational mixer used for a wide variety of mixing needs. The mixing angle is fully adjustable and six mixing speeds are provided. When adjusted with the rotation axis of the motor in a horizontal position, a roller tube attachment (792E) permits hybridization and membrane blotting using as little as 2 ml of probe solution. Using a tray attachment (792T) and adjusting the axis of the BioRotator-6 a few degrees off vertical gives the gentle rocking and swirling action required for conventional destaining and blotting applications. With axis angles between these extremes (and attachments 792R, 792H, or 792MC), one gets a rotating or back and forth washing action the length of the vial, tube, or microplate well. The BioRotator operates at low voltages and easily fits in a laboratory incubator or refrigerator. It can also be used in the field. All accessories snap on using novel fastener strips.

Example Applications:

  • Rocking: Attach the tray (attachment 792T) and adjust the angle of the motor drive to a few degrees off vertical to allow for gentle rocking of gels, membranes, and culture plates.
  • Rotation: Attach the test tube holder (attachment 792R), or microtiter plate/microcentrifuge tube holder (attachment 792H and 792MC). Rotational or tumbling motion for mixing reactions, washing precipitates, blood samples, embedding, etc.
  • Blotting: Attach roller tubes (attachment 792E) and adjust the BioRotator-6 motor drive to the horizontal position to blot membranes.
Product Product Code
 BioRotator/6-Speed, 115 volt  792
 BioRotator/6-Speed, 220 volt 792EUR

The BioVortexer™ is a battery-powered motor drive designed to rotate stirring rods or plastic pestles in 1.5 ml microtubes.  Rotating at thousands of revolutions per minute, it makes short work of dispersing centrifugal pellets or grinding small tissue samples.

Product Description Product Code
BioVortexer Complete BioVortexer Stirring Kit.  Includes motor, batteries and 100 – 1/8″X3″ stirring rods.  1083MC
BioVortexer stirring rods, 3in x 1/8in, 500/box  Additional BioVortexer polypropylene stirring rods, 1/8″X3″ (500 count)  183
BioVortexer with SpiralPestles, 100 count BioVortexer Grinding Kit.  Includes motor, batteries, 100 SpiralPestles™ with matching 1.5 ml microvials and sample of SpiralPestle™ Grinding Beads.  1017MC
SpiralPestles & Vials, 100 count Additional SpiralPestles™ with matching 1.5 ml microvials (100 count) and sample of SpiralPestle™ Grinding Beads.  1017

Rapidly disperses packed centrifugal pellets in 2.0, 1.5 and 0.5 ml micro-centrifuge tubes.

The answer for rapid dispersal of packed centrifugal pellets in 2.0, 1.5 and 0.5 ml micro-centrifuge tubes.  Inspired by a methods paper in BioTechniques, the Tube-Tickler quickly suspends even firmly sedimented or sticky pellets in seconds.  Superior to an ordinary tube vortexer, the microtube is held against a specially designed rotating agitator head.  The unique slapping action of the agitator head vigorously vibrates and swirls the tube contents.  Featuring one hand operation, the Tube-Tickler is activated by light pressure on the top of the mixer.

In another application, the superior mixing energy imparted by the agitator head of the Tube-Tickler makes it significantly more efficient than a standard vortexer mixer when used to disrupt cells by beadbeating (bead milling method).  Simply add an equal volume of the appropriate size and kind of beads  to the cell or tissue suspension and beadbeat for 2-5 minutes.  BioSpec also manufactures faster, more productive machines for beadbeating.

Product Product Code
 TubeTickler  199
TubeTickler, 220 volt  199EUR

Lysis Beads

Chrome steel has a density of 7.9g/cc (used mostly for grinding leaves).  Beads are sold in one pound bottles.

Product Product Code
 1.3mm dia  11079113c
 2.3mm dia  11079123c
 3.2mm dia  11079132c
 6.35mm dia  11079635c

Listed bead sizes are median (average) values.  Because beads are sorted by sieves, bead size varies between +/-10% of a listed value.

With either stainless steel or chrome steel beads, common polypropylene microvials will break if ‘dry’ grinding or cryo-grinding is attempted in our MiniBeadbeaters.  In this case, our 2 ml stainless steel microvials with silicone rubber caps or our 2 ml XXTuff polypropylene screw cap microvials are recommended.

Garnet sharp particles are sold in one pound bottles.  Average size +/- 20%

Product Product Code
 0.3mm diameter  11079103gar
 2.0mm diameter  11079120gar

Like Silicon Carbide sharp particles, these abrasive particles have sharp cutting edges that may accelerate lysis of plant and tough animal tissue in a Mini-Beadbeater vial.

Unlike Silicon Carbide particles, Garnet particles fracture into smaller size particles during the beadbeating process. This can be an advantage if you want to simultaniously lyse a sample of tissue containing microbial cells. Similarly, largeer 2 mm diameter particles help disperse fecal samples, and at the same time lyse microorganisms in the sample.  Garnet particles should not be used to disrupt tissue if the goal is to recover viable microbial cells or intact intracellular organelles.

NOTE: Garnet Particles should not be used with the BeadBeater Model 1107900.

Preliminary information suggests that plant and animal tissue can be disrupted more quickly with sharp-edged material rather than smooth beads.  Particles are sold in one pound bottles.

Product Product Code
 0.1mm diameter  11079101sc
 1.0mm diameter  11079110sc
 4.0mm diameter  11079140sc

The sharp, hard edges of these irregular particles impart a knife-like cutting action during high-energy shaking in Mini-Beadbeater vials.  They may abrade and micro-chop tough tissue faster than beads.  For softer tissues beads are preferred.  These beads are dusty.  Wash with lab detergent before first use.

NOTE: While Silicon-Carbide Sharp Particles are routinely used with any of our MiniBeadbeater models, they should not be used with the BeadBeater, model 1107900.

Glass has a density of 2.5 g/cc and is the most commonly used bead media for “beadbeating.”  Beads are sold in one pound bottles with easy pour spouts.  Listed bead sizes are median (average) values.  Because beads are sorted by sieves, bead size varies between +/-10% of a listed value.

Product Product Code
 0.1mm diameter  11079101
 0.5mm diameter  11079105
 1.0mm diameter  11079110
 2.7mm diameter  11079127
 3.5mm diameter  11079135
 6.4mm diameter  11079635
Smartphone Microscope Bead Sample Pack  11079SMS

For those of you working on a smartphone microscope as described by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory we now have a bead sample pack available for you.

Each pack comes with a sample our 0.5, 1.0, and 3.5 mm glass beads.  Each sample contains a smaller amount of beads than our standard one pound bottles.  However there more than enough beads to create almost 150 scopes using the 3.5 mm beads and a few thousand with each of the two smaller sizes.

Please note that our beads are a grinding grade and not precision grade of bead. As they are not precision beads, some will have slight clarity and size irregularities.  As there are hundreds to several thousand beads of each size in the Sample Pack, you will have many to select from to find perfect ones.

Stainless steel beads have a density of 7.9g/cc.   They are used mostly for grinding leaves and seeds. They are made of Type 316 stainless steel – the most corrosion resistant available.

Product Product Code
 1.5mm diameter, 45g  11079115ss
 2.3mm diameter, 90g  11079123ss
 3.2mm diameter, 90g  11079132ss
 6.35mm diameter, 100 beads  11079635ss

*Note: These beads are not sold in one pound amounts.

A replacement thermal-conductive media for water baths and aluminum heat blocks.

Product Product Code

 Tiny Teardrops™ Aluminum Beads

 150419

Aluminum has excellent thermal conductivity properties and good corrosion resistance.  With these properties, small aluminum beads have become a popular substitute for water in a laboratory bath.  There are several advantages:  Heated bead baths can be left on so they are always ready to use without monitoring and refilling.  Similarly, cooling buckets can be left in a refrigerator or freezer until needed. Vials or tubes inserted into the beads are firmly supported and do not tip over or sink, the risk of contamination from the water is eliminated, the beads are easy to decontaminate and sterilize, and the energy efficiency of heating baths are improved by a factor of 2 or 3.  While spherical-, raisin- or cylindrical-shaped aluminum “beads” available from other suppliers provide the above improvements, BioSpec’s Tiny Teardrops™ aluminum beads go a step further.  Their shape permits higher packing densities and 10X greater surface-to-surface contact for improved heat conduction.

NOTE:  Thermal beads are not always a prefered alternative to water.  Pros and cons are discussed in an objective “advertorial” on thermal beads sponsored by ThermoFisher Scientific [BioTechniques, Vol 63, Issue 5, p.238-239 (Nov 2017)].  See also “Converting from Water to Aluminum Beads in Lab Baths or Ice Buckets” by Mike May [Lab Manager, Vol.11, No.3, p.63 (2016)].  In short, unlike the uniform properties of a stirred water bath and despite the excellent thermal conductivity of aluminum beads, a stable, depth-dependent temperature gradient will be established in a bath filled with metallic beads.  There will be a discrepancy between the bath’s gauge temperature and the temperature of the inserted tube. Always keep an accurate thermometer in the aluminum bead bath and locate it in the same position as the sample vessel.

Tungsten Carbide has a density of 14.9g/cc.  While very dense, these dense beads impart a brown-gray color to homogenates.  This inert, colloidal tungsten-carbide can often be removed by centrifugation or filtration.

Product Product Code

 Tiny Teardrops™ Aluminum Beads

 11079111wc

Note: Listed bead sizes are median (average) values.  Because beads are sorted by sieves, bead size varies between +/-10% of a listed value.

Zirconia beads have a density of 5.5g/cc (Twice as dense as glass beads – good for tough tissue).  Sold in one pound bottles.

Product Product Code

 0.7mm diameter

 11079107zx

 1.0mm diameter

 11079110zx

 2.0mm diameter

 11079124zx

Listed bead sizes are median (average) values.  Because beads are sorted by sieves, bead size varies between +/-10% of a listed value.

Zirconia/Silica has a density of 3.7g/cc (50% more dense than glass – good for spores and most tissues)  Beads are sold in one pound bottles.

Product Product Code

 0.1mm diameter

 11079101z

 0.5mm diameter

 11079105z

 1.0mm diameter

 11079110z

 2.3mm diameter

 11079125z

Listed bead sizes are median (average) values.  Because beads are sorted by sieves, bead size varies between +/-10% of a listed value.

Bead Loaders

Chrome steel has a density of 7.9g/cc (used mostly for grinding leaves).  Beads are sold in one pound bottles.

Product Product Code
 “Fill and Flip” Microplate Bead Loader  702l

“Fill & Flip” Microplate Bead Loader Set transfers, in one manual motion, 0.3 or 1 ml of beads into a 96-, deep well microplate.  A stainless steel frame aligns a pair of 96-well microplates, one pre-loaded to the top with beads (the “measuring” plate). Upon manual inversion of the paired plates, the beads fall into the second, larger capacity 96-well microplate (the “receiving” plate).  Suitable for bead sizes from 0.1 mm diameter to 6 mm diameter. the “Flip & Fill” Bead Loader handles irregular, sharp particle media as well as spherical media.

How it works..

1) Using the provided bead loading tray, pour the beads out of its bottle into a 96-well microplate (the ‘measuring’ microplate)   Level the beads with the spatula until all wells are filled to the top with beads.

2) Place a selected tight fitting, stainless steel frame over the loaded ‘measuring’ microplate.

3) Insert into the frame, up-side-down, a larger capacity 96-well “receiving” microplate.  The upper surfaces of the two plates contact each other.

4) Transfer the beads by manually inverting the pair of microplates.

Vials and Microplates

This tube holder is machined out of a 1.5 lb aluminum block and has the dimensions of a standard 2ml deep well microplate.  It is used with the MiniBeadbeater-96 cell disrupter.  One or two 50 ml screw cap centrifuge tubes are placed completely inside the cold block and the contents shaken in the “wall to wall” direction.  The block can be pre-cooled in a deep freezer or, at cryo-temperatures, with dry-ice or liquid nitrogen.

Included with each vial block are 25 sterile, polypropylene 50 ml screw cap tubes (part # 3252).*

*Important note:  To maximize the efficiency of heat transfer, this aluminum tube holder was designed to fit with close tolerance to the 50 ml tube.  Other brands of 50 ml centrifuge tube may not fit properly.  If you prefer to use a different brand tube, please check with us for compatibility.

Product Product Code
 50ml Tube Holder, Solid Aluminum  518

An important accessory for the MiniBeadbeater-96 when temperature control is a concern*.  Typically, a vial filled with beads, sample and extraction media  warms up ~10 degrees per minute of beadbeating.  Our 2 ml vial holder (capacity 48 vials) and 50 ml tube holder (capacity 2 tubes) are machined out of high-heat-conductivity aluminum.  The vial holders are pre-cooled to low temperatures to provide strict maintainence of low sample temperature during the bead beading process.  The cooling efficiency of a close fitting, cold aluminum vial holder is far superior to cold-room air or cold air attachments used by other bead mill cell disruptors.

* Nucleic acid extraction of microorganisms or tissues in the presence of nucleic acid extraction media generally do not require temperature control.

Microplates and sealing mats.

Product Product Code
 2 ml Deep well Microplate, 50 plates per case  219030
 Sealing Mats, (fits 219030), 50 mats per case  219004

BioSpec Products now features 96-well microplates and sealing mats manufactured by Porvair Sciences.  When used with our high-energy Mini-BeadBeater-96 cell disrupter and bead mill these microplates offer the highest level of processing reliability

Porvair Science’s reinforced polypropylene, 2 ml square 96 deep well microplates have extra structural ribbing on their bottom which provides support when used with a high energy shaking bead mill.  Their microplates are made of specially formulated polypropylene and pair with special reusable mats.  The microplates can also be sealed with adhesive-bonded or heat-bonded films, but these films seldom prevent leaking during intense shaking in a Mini-BeadBeater-96.

Recently, BioSpec tested plate/mat combinations made by several manufacturers using steel beads in both wet-grinding and dry-grinding conditions. In one of the more stringent tests, Porvair microplates and mats maintained structural integrity while powdering dry samples of human hair in the Mini-BeadBeater-96 using two 3.2 mm chrome steel beads in each well .  In contrast, all other plates cracked during use and some even had holes punched through them under the  severe test grinding conditions.  Independent support for these findings come from a leading UK contract genomics laboratory. Testing barley seeds, a notoriously hard carpel to crack, they reported that Porvair deep well microplates sucessfully survived 4 minutes of bead beating using a single 6 mm steel in a high speed shaking bead mill.

Our 2.0 ml, screw cap with o-ring seal, microcentrifuge vials are made of inert polypropylene and have straight walls with a sharp conical bottom. This vial shape is required for the Mini-Beadbeater-1+ and recommended for the MiniBeadbeater-16, MiniBeadbeater-24 and MiniBeadbeater-96.  Compatible with other brands of bead-mill cell disrupters and available sterile or non-sterile.

For extraction and cell disruption of larger sample volumes we also have 7 ml polypropylene vials.  The vials include screw caps and, when combined with the appropriate adapter, arer used with the Mini-Beadbeater-16, -24, or -96.

Product Product Code
 2 ml Sterile vials and caps, 100 count. In insulating, foam rack  10831
 2 ml Non-sterile vials and caps, 500 count  10832
 2 ml Sterile vials and caps, 500 count  522S
 7 ml Non-sterile vials and caps, 1000 count  3205

Note:  Using our high-energy Minibeadbeater series cell disrupters, current polypropylene microvials  (offered by us or other Providers) cannot be used with vials containing steel beads that also have a significant air space (i.e., dry milling).  During shaking, the steel beads will crack or punch through the vials.  No problem exists using zirconia or glass beads for dry milling or steel beads for wet milling where the air space wthin the sealed vial is minimized.  If dry milling with steel beads is required, as is commonly done at liquid nitrogen temperatures, use our stainless steel microvials equiped with silicone rubber stoppers or our exclusive polypropylene ‘XXTuff™’ 2 ml microvials.  The later are reinforced in critical areas of the vial and is fabricated using a special, high density polypropylene resin. Tests show that this vial is 10X more resistant to breakage – hence the name ‘XXTuff’.

50ml polypropylene screw cap centrifuge tubes.  Sterile, with cap.  25 tubes per bag.

Product Product Code
 Screw Cap Centrifuge Tubes – 50ml  3252

Our 50 ml conical centrifuge tubes are designed to fit with close tolerance into the 50 ml Solid AluminumTube Holder used in our MiniBeadbeater-96.  The aluminum holder maintains tube temperature while cells and tissue are being lysed.

Please note:  There are subtle differences in the diameters of other brands of 50 ml screw-cap centrifuge tubes.  That may prevent them from properly fitting into our Aluminum Tube Holder.

Our Stainless Steel Microvials have the same physical dimensions and weight as standard 2 ml polypropylene microvials. They can be sealed with either polyethylene flange caps, silicone rubber stopper caps1 or crimped 13 mm OD septa caps.

Product Product Code
1.8 ml capacity, type 305 stainless steel microvials.   Polyethylene flange caps are included1.  Package size: 100 pieces  2007

Applications include:

  • Ideal for dry grinding with steel beads in a high energy Bead mill cell disrupter (e.g.,MiniBeadbeater) where milling forces often crack common plastic microvials – – Note an exception is our 2 ml XXTuff polypropylene microvials.   These 2 ml screw-top polypropylene vial are the toughest on the market and can be used for most dry milling applications.
  • Provides far better heat transfer capabilities compared to common plastic or glass micrvials- as might be desired for control of sample heating during the beadbeating process and for some PCR methods using rapid temperature change protocols.

NOTE:  When beadbeating dry or cryo-grinding frozen samples using steel beads our Silicone Rubber Caps, specially shaped to securely seal our s.s. microvials, are highly recommended. Flange caps fail under these milling conditions.

A pack of five polypropylene microvial vial racks.  The rack has a standard microplate footprint and holds up to forty-five 1.5 ml or 2.0 ml microvials on one side and thirty-two 0.5 ml microvials on the other side.  One of these racks comes standard with our Mini-BeadBeater-96.

Product Product Code
Vial Rack, Polypropylene, for 1.5 and 2ml Microvials  702VH45

This solid aluminum vial rack for 2ml vials offers superior temperature control during beadbeating than bead mill cell disrupters relying on flowing air chilled by dry-ice or refrigeration. It is well-known that chilled air has much poorer heat conductivity than chilled metal. The block is pre-cooled in a deep freezer or, to cryo-temperatures with dry-ice or liquid nitrogen.  Having dimensions of a standard deep-well microplate, it is compatible with not only our MiniBeadbeater-96 but with several competitor microplate shakers.

Product Product Code
Vial Rack, Solid Aluminum, for 2ml Microvials  702ALU

An important accessory for the MiniBeadbeater-96 when temperature control is a concern**.  Typically, a vial filled with beads, sample and extraction media warms up ~10 degrees per minute of beadbeating.  Our 2 ml vial holder (capacity 48 vials) is machined out of high-heat-conductivity aluminum.

The vial holder is pre-cooled to low temperatures inside a refrigerator, a  -80º C freezer, or with liquid nitrogen.  During the beadbeating process, the chilled vial holder keeps the sample temperature at desired low temperatures.

A related application is ‘dry’ bead-grinding of fresh tissue by the cryopulverization technique.  The sample, beads, vials, and vial holder are all pre-chilled to liquid nitrogen temperatures before being processed in a Mini-BeadBeater-96.

Cat. No. 330TX, XXTuff™ non-sterile, reinforced 2 ml vials and caps, 500 count

Product Product Code
 XXTuff Reinforced Microvials – 2ml  330TX

This specially reinforced vial is manufactured exclusively for BioSpec Products.  The XXTuff microvial has the same dimensions as a standard 2 ml microcentrifuge vial with a screw cap and o-ring seal.  However, it is molded from special polypropylene resin and has been reinforced in critical areas.

Unlike standard microvials, the XXTuff vial is able to withstand the rigors of dry grinding using steel beads*.  Tests show that the XXTuff vial is over 10 times more durable than standard microvial.

This vial and cap can be autoclaved.

    *When doing CryoGrinding, a variant of dry-grinding done at liq N2 temperatures, we recommend using our stainless steel microvials.  All plastic microvials become too brittle to withstand beadbeating with steel beads at extremely low temperatures.

Cell Disrupter Selection Table.

Animal Tissue Plant Tissue Yeast and Fungi Bacteria Disrupt Time (b) Requires Cooling? (d) Requires Pre-chop? Scale-up Available?
SoniBeast ++++ ++++ ++++ ++++ 3 Yes Yes Yes
Mini Beadbeater-1+ ++++ ++++ ++++ ++++ 3 Yes Yes Yes
Mini Beadbeater-16 ++++ ++++ ++++ ++++ 3 Yes Yes Yes
Mini Beadbeater-24 ++++ ++++ ++++ ++++ 3 Yes Yes Yes
Mini Beadbeater-96 ++++ ++++ ++++ ++++ 3 Yes Yes Yes
BeadBeater ++++ ++++ 3 Yes Yes
Tissue-Tearor ++++ ++++ <1 No Yes Yes
BioHomogenizer ++++ ++++ <1 No Yes Yes
Hamilton-Beach Blenders +++ +++ 1 or 2 No No Yes
Cryo-Cup Mortar and Pestle ++++ ++++ ++ ++ 1 No Yes No
Spiral Pestle & Microtube ++++ ++++ ++ ++ 1 No Yes No
Tissue Grinder ++++ ++++ 5 No Yes No
MicroMincer (a) ++++ ++++ 1 No No No
Lever Press (a) ++++ ++++ 1 No No No
Tissue Press (a) ++++ ++++ 1 No No No
BioPulverizer – (a) ++++ ++++ 0.1 No No No
MicroCryoCrusher (a) ++++ ++++ 0.1 No No No

Table Key:

(a) Fragments tissue samples but usually does not disrupt cells. Often used as a preliminary step to cell lysis.
(b) Typical time, in minutes, for 90 percent cell disruption.  For ‘dry- or cryo-milling’, grinding times are <30 sec
(c) DNA or RNA beadbeated in the presence of nucleic acid extraction media is an exception. Ditto for proteins extracted in media containing SDS detergent.


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