High pressure homogenizer is a broad term referring to any homogenizer, which forces a stream of liquid through systems that subject the sample to processes meant to homogenize it. In practice, a high-pressure homogenizer can work on any combination of impact and shear forces.
The most common setup usually has a tank to which high pressure is applied to force the liquid through a membrane or valve with narrow slits.
High-pressure homogenizers are mostly used for cell lysis or creating emulsions when large volumes are being processed.
Benefits and drawbacks
Homogenizers have the ability to process large volumes of liquid reproducibly and methodically. Because of this, high-pressure homogenizers do not usually deposit any materials into the liquid sample; for this reason, they are used in the dairy industry.
Some high-pressure homogenizers usually allow a high degree of flexibility because they can adjust the process stream. Moreover, with the ability to recycle effluent stream as well as the vigorous processing, these homogenizers usually achieve very tiny, sub-micron sized particles. Because of the cost, they can only be used for large volume processing.
High pressure homogenizers are quite expensive; the cheaper ones go for about 10,000 dollars. To prevent contamination, the entire unit needs to be cleaned after every use.
Tips for using high pressure homogenizers
You should not use this machine if your liquid sample contains too much solid matter or particulate because it can block the valve openings. Clean it thoroughly after use to remove any particulate from the valves and prevent cross-contamination. If you fail to do so, there will be higher operating pressures that might reduce instrument life or lower the effectiveness of homogenization.
If you do not achieve satisfactory homogenization during the first pass, you can run the liquid through the machine multiple times. Some high-pressure homogenizers have configurations that allow you to recycle the effluent for effortless multiple-pass homogenization.
Things to consider when buying a high pressure homogenization
As with the other homogenizers, the most important thing that you need to consider is the size of your sample. There are many high-pressure homogenizers in the market to accommodate a large number of sample sizes. Moreover, you should consider whether the process would be continuous or batch; not all high-pressure homogenizers are capable of both.
Do you have reason to believe that the homogenization process will be difficult enough to require several passes? You should buy a unit that can recycle the overflow feed for an automated multi-pass process. You should also consider the difficulty of keeping the homogenizer clean because it will need cleaning after every use.
Food applications for high pressure homogenizers
Food production companies usually take advantage of high-pressure homogenizers in several ways, including:
- Food processing: this term encompasses all the things that make a food product have good taste, consistency, and texture. Using a homogenizer can lead to higher company sales.
- Longer shelf life: chemical stability is an important factor in determining the shelf life of food. Since high-pressure homogenization uses pressure and force instead of heat, it preserves nutritional content, taste, and quality. Moreover, the intensive pressure that breaks down particles creates a more stable structure in the resulting food.
- Improved health status and portion control: compared with other equipment for mixing, these homogenizers can achieve very small particle sizes. As shown by the above examples, this results in big benefits for the product itself. A small particle size can boost satiety and reduce food consumption, which contributes to better health. A food’s ability to do what it was intended to depends on a number of factors, which include size consistency and particle size.