Micro-organisms are protected by extremely tough cell walls. In order to release their cellular contents a number of methods for cell disintegration have been developed (Wimpenny, 1967; Hughes et al., 1971). Any potential method of disruption must ensure that labile materials are not denatured by the process or hydrol-ysed by enzymes present in the cell. Huang et al. (1991) report the use of a combination of different techniques to release products from specific locations within yeast cells. In this way the desired product can be obtained with minimum contamination. Although many techniques are available which are satisfactory at laboratory scale, only a limited number have been proved to be suitable for large-scale applications, particularly for intracellular enzyme extraction (Wang et al., 1979; Darbyshire, 1981). Containment of cells can be difficult or costly to achieve in many of the methods described below and thus containment requirements will strongly influence process choice. Methods available fall into two major categories:
(a) Liquid shear.
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