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Homogenization (or homogenisation) is a term used in many fields such as Chemistry, agricultural science, food technology, sociology and cell biology. Homogenization is a term connoting a process that makes a mixture the same throughout the entire substance.
Intensive mixing of mutually insoluble phases (sometimes with addition of Surfactants) to obtain a soluble suspension or emulsion.
One of the oldest applications of homogenization is in milk processing, where the aim is to prevent or delay the natural separation of cream from the rest of the emulsion. The fat in milk normally separates from the water and collects at the top. Homogenization is the process of breaking up that fat into smaller sizes so that it no longer separates from the milk, allowing the sale of non-separating 2% and whole milk. This is accomplished by forcing the milk at high pressure through small orifices.
When soft solids are milled in a liquid, this can also be seen as a form of homogenization. Among the many types of equipment that can be used for this process are extruders, hammermills and colloid mills.
Sociology and History
In sociology and history, the term 'homogenization' has largely negative meanings, indicating a drive towards uniformity, militarism, obedience and conformism. This is often superimposed forcibly by the state, but can also be the result of global economic forces (Conversi 2007). The term 'homogenization' has a close relationship to Americanization.
Homogenization is a process that involves breaking apart cells - releasing organelles and cytoplasm. When the purpose is to extract organelles, it is frequently done in two steps; first using a blender to break the tissue up, and then with an ultrasonic or mechanical tissue disruptor. The organelles are then generally separated using differential centrifugation. Depending upon the subcellular fraction wanted, different processes are used to separate them. When the aim is to extract nucleic acids, the tissue is often ground in a mortar and pestle under liquid nitrogen.
Sometimes, however, a much milder procedure is followed, where the aim is to collect whole, intact cells. Homogenized cells must be kept at low temperatures to prevent autolysis and kept in an isotonic solution to prevent osmotic damage.
Conversi, Daniele 2007 'Homogenisation, nationalism and war: Should we still read Ernest Gellner?’, Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 13, no 3, 2007, pp. 1–24
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Homogenization". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|