SpiralPestle MicroTube Grinder and BioVortexer

The  SpiralPestle™ microtube grinder is used to disperse and homogenize culture cells and small tissue samples (<100 mg wet weight).  It is also routinely used to disperse centrifugal pellets, precipitates, and other friable solids.  The SpiralPestle is compatible with both 1.5 ml conical and 0.6 ml conical microvials.

The unique screw pattern on the SpiralPestle's surface actively drives 10-100 mg of soft plant or animal tissue suspended in 200 to 500 µl of extraction solution downward to the bottom of the 1.5 ml microvial where it is macerated and mechanically dispersed between the walls of the pestle and the microvial.  Tissue grinding is further enhanced by including a pinch (~0.1 cc) of glass grinding beads.  The addition of glass grinding beads is recommended for cell lysis of tissue and microorganisms.  A sample of glass beads is included with Spiral Pestle orders.

Traditional Pestle and Tube grinders are traditionally operated by a rotation back and forth by hand. However, to achieve optimum homogenization efficiency, the SpiralPestle should be combined with BioSpec Products' BioVortexer™.  The BioVortexer is a low-cost, hand-held, cordless mixing motor that rotates at 9000 revolutions per minute.  With its greatly increased rotational speed and the addition of glass grinding beads, soft tissue and microorganisms are lysed in seconds.

Operating Instructions

Unlike traditional pestle and tube combinations, the SpiralPestle functions best with a slight clearance from the walls of the microtube.  This leaves enough space for the tissue (and beads) to be drawn down to the bottom of the microtube by the screw action of the rotating pestle.

Grinding by hand ?  Add enough glass beads to fill the vial a little over the 0.1 ml mark (eye-ball accuracy is okay).  Add extraction media to the 0.5 ml mark.  Finally, add the tissue or microbial sample.  Apply back-and-forth rotation to the pestle shaft and occasionally lift the pestle to re-capture tissue mass under the pestle.  For large tissue samples, grinding will be faster if the tissue is first prechopped into pieces less than 1 mm in cross-section using a single-edge razor blade or scalpel.

Using a BioVortexer to rotate the SpiralPestle ?  Things happen much faster.  Follow the hand-grinding protocol but be careful to avoid splashing.  It helps to not fill the microvial beyond the 1.0 ml mark and to hold the microvial by its hinged cap.  If the BioVortexer turns too fast for your application, operate the BioVortexer with one battery, rather than two (Questions on how to do this?...Call 918-336-3363).

Ordering information:

  • Product No. 1017:  Package of 100 SpiralPestles and 1.5 ml Microtubes and a sample of glass beads.
  • Product No. 1017MC:  Above pestle and tube package (Prod. #1017) plus a BioVortexer stirrer (Prod. #1083)
  • Product No. 1017GB:  SpiralPestle Grinding Beads for Pestle & Microtube grinders, 100 cc in a bottle with pour spout