Fractionation of cells

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Fractionation is the process by which cells may be broken up into their constituent parts (i.e. their organelles) and each part may be studied in more depth. In order to study these organelles in more depth, it may well be necessary to obtain them in large quantities. This is why fractionation is necessary.

Fractionation often takes place under certain conditions only:

  • The sample must be ice cold so as to prevent any further metabolic activity; especially to stop the function of lysosomes which may catalyse the breakdown of many other organelles.
  • It must also be suspended in an isotonic solution (one that has the same water potential as the study sample) so that shrinking/expansion of the organelles does not occur.
  • The solution is also buffered so as not to disrupt the…


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