Benefits of Disposable Tubes in Sample Preparation

Before laboratory assistants and researchers can analyze samples, they normally need to prepare the material. Homogenizing, dispersing, crushing, or mixing processes are usually fast. However, the cleaning of the machine takes time and can be dangerous when working with toxic materials. Now, contact with the sample material and the sample processing time are reduced thanks to a new, disposable, and hermetically sealed tube system.

Equipment known as batch dispersing tools are used in combination with reusable vessels. The vessels are filled with the sample material which is then homogenized and filled into alternative vessels. Once the work has been performed, the tool and the vessel (the mill or rotor-stator system) must be cleaned and sterilized where necessary.

There is always the risk of cross contamination during handling, for example particles from one sample entering another.

Contamination can also harm users as well. If toxic substances or infected cell materials are being processed, any contact with the used dispersing tool or the filled vessel presents a risk of poisoning or infection.

Sterilization and cleaning are time consuming. As such, there was a demand for a completely revised system comprising of a drive, a dispersing tool, and a sample vessel, as a means of preparing samples in a harmless and faster way.

The most critical step was the integration of the dispersing tools into the sample vessel. The vessel and the tool makes a unit and they are both engineered to be disposable products. They can be stored or discarded after the sample has been prepared.

Closed Tubes Instead of Open Vessels

The tool-vessel combination is represented as disposable tubes within the ULTRA-TURRAX® Tube Drive P control. They are fixed to the drive unit without the need for user contact with the sample material.

A signal sounds once the test has been completed. The sample can then be stored in the tube for more analysis with alternative devices. The tubes can carry either 20 ml (working volume of 2 to 15 ml) or 50 ml (working volume of 15 to 50 ml). Three different models are available:

  • ST-Tube: Suitable for dissolving, suspending, extracting, stirring, and mixing, this is a mixing vessel with an integrated stirring function.
  • DT-Tube: Suitable for suspension, homogenization, and dispersion of medical samples for example, this dispersing vessel has an integrated dispersing function.
  • BMT-Tube: Suitable for the dissolution of tablets in liquids, along with cell maceration and dry crushing, this grinding vessel comprises of integrated glass or stainless steel balls.

The UTTD and its extraordinary tube system can process practically all kinds of sample material (examples are detailed later on in the article). The tubes are hermetically sealed once they are closed, even under speeds of up to 8.000 revolutions per minute. The removal or addition of a sample can be achieved utilizing optional tubes with pierceable membranes.

For special test procedures, gamma sterilized tubes are also available. Due to these features, the UTTD is ideally suited to the following applications:

  • Emulsification of cosmetic samples
  • Dispersion or extraction from plants
  • Dispersion of animal or human tissue
  • Dissolution of medications for example capsules or tablets before analysis
  • Extraction of bacteria (for example E. coli) using a ball mill tube (glass balls)

Homogenization of mint leaves with ensuing sampling process.

Homogenization of mint leaves with ensuing sampling process.

Application Examples for the ST Tube

  • Inclusion of colored pigments into a solvent
  • Dissolving properties of drugs
  • Extraction of plant substances
  • Accelerated dissolution of sugar solutions
  • Mixing of fluids with higher viscosities
  • Accelerated dissolution of capsules, suppositories, dragées, and tablets

Liquid and Powder


ST Tube: Tube With Stirring Device

Suitable for:

  • Preparation of soil sample suspensions
  • Extractions
  • Stirring
  • Mixing

Application Examples for the DT Tube

  • The milling of plant samples such as roots, leaves, cress, potatoes, grapes, tomato seeds, rapeseed, and rosemary.
  • Homogenization of tissue samples such as lung, kidney, muscle tissue, liver, and brain
  • Homogenization of effluent samples
  • Production of O/W and W/O emulsions

Liquid and Sample


DT Tube: Tube with Rotor-Stator Element

Suitable for:

  • Diagnosis
  • Metabolism studies
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Suspensions
  • Homogenization
  • Dispersion

Application Examples for the BMT G/S Tube

  • Dry milling of coal samples, building materials, and pigments
  • Decomposition of human, plant, and animal cells
  • Milling of samples to establish water content
  • The dry milling of freeze-dried samples

Balls and Sample


BMT G / S Tube: Tube for Grinding with Glass Balls (G) or Stainless Steel Balls (S)

Suitable for:

  • The processing of materials mixed with fluids
  • Dry milling of brittle and dry samples such as tablets, colored pigments, gypsum, or kaolin
  • Cell maceration

The UTTD Provides Its Optimum Reproducible Results with the Following Materials

Algae, amnion, apple leaves, capsules, carrots, catalysts, cheese, cherry leaves, color pigments, compost, conductivity paste, cress seeds, crude oil, dried mushroom, dried or frozen leaves, fat cream, fibrin-cells, flavor capsules, food paste, fruit juice concentrates, fuel oil, giblets, grape leaves, grape pods, grass, heart, hop pellets, ivy, kidney, liver, lean chicken meat, lung, lymph nodes, malt pellets, medicine analeptic, muscle tissue, nematode, oil, ointments, oleander leaves, orange peel, pill, plant leaves, plant lice, plum leaves, pig brain, pitted olives, pork meat, potato beetle, potatoes, potatoes shelled, raspberry leaves, rapeseed, roots, rosemary, sage dried, salad oil, sediment, seeds, silicon carbide, sludge, soil samples, starch grains, sugar-coated tablet, sunflower kernels, textiles, paints, and pigments, thymus, tobacco leaves, tomato seeds, trachea, turkey liver, turkey meat, umbilical cord, vegetable, vegetable mixture, waste water, wood.

Industries and Areas of Application

  • Agriculture
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Brewery
  • Building Materials Industry
  • Chemical Industry
  • Cosmetics
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Protection
  • Food Analysis
  • Genetic Research
  • Hematology
  • Human Medicine
  • Immunology
  • Medicine
  • Paint and Varnish Industry
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacy
  • Petrochemistry
  • Tobacco Industry
  • Veterinary Industry

Controlling, Programming, and Documenting with the ULTRA-TURRAX® Tube Drive control

The model ULTRA-TURRAX® Tube Drive P control provides users with further modifications. A USB interface allows the user to execute the ULTRA-TURRAX® Tube Drive P control and to document the test series on a PC using IKA®’s software program named ‘labworldsoft®’. A program library built into the software enables the repetition of tests under the same conditions.

Additionally, the user can select functions manually to enhance the crushing and mixing results. The turbo switch enables the user to maximize the speed and the reverse switch allows them to cyclically reverse the rotational direction. Each option helps to benefit the crushing and mixing effect.

Insert Technical Data Table

Technical data
Motor rating input / output 36 / 28 W
Speed range / turbo speed 400 - 8.000 rpm
Display OLED
Speed display OLED
Timer Yes
Reversal of rotating direction interval Yes
General data
Dimensions (W x D x H) 122 x 54 x 178 mm
Weight 1,3 kg
Protection class acc. to DIN EN 60529 IP 20



  • Patented technology
  • Tests are reproducible
  • International service guarantee by IKA®
  • Safe and simple disposal
  • Plastic is chemically resistant
  • Safety is increased because of low voltage used (24 V)
  • Anti-locking function
  • Tubes with 2 to 15 ml and 15 to 50 ml
  • Tubes with pierceable membrane lids
  • Gamma-sterilized tubes
  • Can be used in series or individually
  • High degree of user safety
  • Cleaning is not required
  • Sample tubes are hermetically sealable and disposable
  • No risk of cross-contamination
  • Grind, homogenize, stir, and disperse utilizing a single-drive unit

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by IKA.

For more information on this source, please visit IKA.


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