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Chem Phys Lipids. 1998 Sep;95(1):11-21.

A simple mechanical mixer for small viscous lipid-containing samples.

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Department of Chemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, 43210, USA.


The construction and performance characteristics of a simple device for rapid and convenient hydration and mixing of small volumes (10-500 microliters) of viscous hydrated lipid samples for use in X-ray diffraction/scattering and other applications are described. The mixer has been used successfully over the past several years in studies of the equilibrium properties of lipid mesophases and of the kinetics and mechanism of phase transitions. It is a low dead-volume (3.6-11.2 microliters) device that was built to facilitate maximal transfer of homogeneously hydrated lipid from the mixer into 1 mm diameter X-ray capillaries with minimal loss of water during transfer and sample manipulation. The device consists of inexpensive, commercially available parts, the most important of which are two microsyringes joined by a small-bore coupling needle. Also described in this report is a technique for determining the water content of the small volume, hydrated samples prepared with the mixer and an accessory for conveniently heating and/or degassing samples during mixing. Inadvertent sample heating that occurs during mixing is described.

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