bead beating and homogenisation

Bead beating is a popular and extremely efficient method of cell disruption which enables the release of proteins, RNA and DNA through lysis (breaking up) the sample using a homogeniser. This is achieved through mixing at high speeds in tubes with either steel, glass (silica) or zirconium beads added to grind the sample and release subcellular contents.

The method enables multiple samples to be processed simultaneously with a reduced risk of cross contamination since the instrument is not in direct contact with the sample. Tubes, vials or micro plates are shaken/spun depending on the type of bead beater in use.

Each of the below homogenisers offers unique benefits: The Handheld Homogeniser is ideal for single microtubes, at less than 7″ wide the 3 position BeadBug offers extremely powerful lysis usually within 45 seconds and a compact footprint and the 24 position BeadBlaster is powerful enough to lyse most biological samples within 35 seconds.

You can download our free guide to bead beating and homogenisation here.


The sample type dictates the size and type of beads that you should use in order to optimise the homogenisation process. (See the table below for guidence).

We offer a variety of triple pure zirconium beads that have been carefully processed to completely remove all traces of DNase, RNase, protease, and nucleic acids as well as standard acid washed glass beads.

We can also customise zirconium, steel and scilica beads as a mixture to suit most requirements. If you’re not sure which beads to use, get in touch and we’ll help you to choose correctly.


Suggested Bead Type & Size

Bacteria, cultured microbes
Standard glass 0.1mm
Triple-Pure zirconium beads, 0.1 mm
Standard glass 0.5 mm
Triple-Pure zirconium beads, 0.5 mm
Filamentous fungi
Standard glass beads 1.0 mm
Triple-pure zirconium beads, 1.0 mm
Plant leaves & soft vegetables (E.G potato)
Triple-Pure zirconium beads 1.5 and 3.0 mm
Stainless steel beads 2.8 mm
Shoots and stalks
Triple-pure zirconium beads, 3.0 mm
Fresh small seeds
Triple-pure zirconium beads 3.0 mm
Stainless steel beads 2.8 mm
Larger seeds
Triple-pure zirconium beads 3.0 mm
Stainless steel beads 2.8 mm
Soft tissue (liver, brain, kidney, adipose, hypothalamus)
Triple-pure zirconium beads, 1.0 mm
1.5 mm beads or larger
Resilient or fibrous tissue (spleen, tail, heart, muscle lung, cornea)
Triple-pure zirconium beads 3.0 mm
Stainless steel beads 2.8 mm