Mechanical disruption of lysis-resistant bacterial cells by use of a miniature, low-power, disposable device

J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Jul;49(7):2533-9. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02171-10. Epub 2011 May 4.


Molecular detection of microorganisms requires microbial cell disruption to release nucleic acids. Sensitive detection of thick-walled microorganisms such as Bacillus spores and Mycobacterium cells typically necessitates mechanical disruption through bead beating or sonication, using benchtop instruments that require line power. Miniaturized, low-power, battery-operated devices are needed to facilitate mechanical pathogen disruption for nucleic acid testing at the point of care and in field settings. We assessed the lysis efficiency of a very small disposable bead blender called OmniLyse relative to the industry standard benchtop Biospec Mini-BeadBeater. The OmniLyse weighs approximately 3 g, at a size of approximately 1.1 cm(3) without the battery pack. Both instruments were used to mechanically lyse Bacillus subtilis spores and Mycobacterium bovis BCG cells. The relative lysis efficiency was assessed through real-time PCR. Cycle threshold (C(T)) values obtained at all microbial cell concentrations were similar between the two devices, indicating that the lysis efficiencies of the OmniLyse and the BioSpec Mini-BeadBeater were comparable. As an internal control, genomic DNA from a different organism was spiked at a constant concentration into each sample upstream of lysis. The C(T) values for PCR amplification of lysed samples using primers specific to this internal control were comparable between the two devices, indicating negligible PCR inhibition or other secondary effects. Overall, the OmniLyse device was found to effectively lyse tough-walled organisms in a very small, disposable, battery-operated format, which is expected to facilitate sensitive point-of-care nucleic acid testing.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Bacteriological Techniques / methods*
  • Bacteriolysis*
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium bovis / genetics*


  • DNA, Bacterial