CELL DISRUPTION (MICROORGANISMS)

Disruption is to disorder something, or to break it apart. This interpretation may be extended easily to the disruption of microbial cells. The desired product is located intracellular and is isolated from the suspending medium by an impermeable cell wall and membrane. Cell disruption is the breaking apart of this structure to effect the release of intracellular product.

CELL WALL STRUCTURE

Cell disruption is a must if the product is intracellular. Therefore, effective, well characterized methods feasible for process-scale disruption are required. A variety of methods are available for process-scale cell disruptions which are classified as mechanical, physical, chemical or enzymatic methods.

CLASSIFICATION OF DISRUPTION TECHNIQUES

In addition to the above mentioned methods, there are also some combined methods. The various methods of disruption possess different modes of action. Those properties could be combined to give higher release of the product and make the process more effective.

There are two approaches for modeling a combined method

    * Combination of chemical/physical/enzymatic methods
    * Pretreatment with a chemical/physical/enzymatic method, followed by mechanical disruption

CHOICE OF DISRUPTION METHODS
Methods will vary depending on the type of cell and its particular cell wall structure. The method selected for large scale cell disruption will be different in every case, but will depend on:

    * Susceptibility of cells to disruption
    * Product stability
    * Ease of extraction from cell debris
    * Speed of method
    * Cost of method

Regardless of the method, Disruption must be effective and the product must remain in an active form.

ADVERSE FACTORS DURING DISRUPTION
The following are some of the several adverse factors to be considered while selecting a disruption method.

    * Heat generation
    * Release of Proteases
    * Nucleic acid contamination
    * High Foaming
    * Heavy metal Toxicity

DISRUPTION AND ITS MEASUREMENT
To evaluate the effect of the disruption process, analytical methods are needed.

DISRUPTION MEASUREMENT METHODS

CONCLUSION
Cell disruption is an important process in Biotechnology and other industries. Significant progress has been made in modeling the disruption process and designing the equipment needed. The vast increasing knowledge on the structure of cell membrane facilitates further improvement.

(Sincere thanks to guest editor St. Mane for his contribution)

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