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I came across a method that used a vacuum centrifuge:

Carvalho et al. 2012. The diversity, antimicrobial and anticancer activity of endophytic fungi associated with the medicinal plant Stryphnodendron adstringens (Mart.) Coville (Fabaceae) from the Brazilian savannah. Symbiosis 57(2):95-107

Five-millimetre-diameter plugs of each filamentous endophytic fungus were inoculated into the centres of Petri dishes (60 mm diameter, 20 ml PDA). The plates were incubated at 25±2 °C for 15 days. The culture materials from each Petri dish were cut and transferred to 50-ml vial tubes containing 35 ml of ethanol (PA, ≥99.8 %, Vetec, Brazil). After 48 h at 10°C, the organic phase was decanted and the solvent was removed under a vacuum centrifuge at 35°C

I couldn't find information online as to whether a vacuum centrifuge is the same as a normal centrifuge. Is there a difference?

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    $\begingroup$ It would be helpful if you shared a link or citation to the study $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 17 '17 at 2:17
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    $\begingroup$ Also, we would need to know what model centrifuge you have in your lab to definitively say whether it is the same as what is being described. $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 17 '17 at 3:32
  • $\begingroup$ I presume they're trying to use a non-brand name for what everyone I know calls a SpeedVac. $\endgroup$ – R.M. Mar 31 '17 at 15:05
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A "normal" centrifuge = piece of laboratory equipment, driven by a motor, which spins liquid samples at high speed to allow centripetal acceleration to separate substances of greater and lesser density.

Without further information regarding the method you read, a "vacuum" centrifuge might be a reference to one of the following:

  1. Ultracentrifuge

    • a centrifuge optimized for spinning a rotor at very high speeds.

    The vacuum ultracentrifuge was invented by Edward Greydon Pickels in the Physics Department at the University of Virginia. It was his contribution of the vacuum which allowed a reduction in friction generated at high speeds. Vacuum systems also enabled the maintenance of constant temperature across the sample, eliminating convection currents that interfered with the interpretation of sedimentation results

  2. Centrifugal evaporator

    • device used in chemical and biochemical laboratories for the efficient and gentle evaporation of solvents from many samples at the same time.

    The system works by lowering the pressure in the centrifuge system [via a vacuum pump] - as the pressure drops so does the boiling point of the solvent(s) in the system.

    The centrifugal force generated by spinning the centrifuge rotor creates a pressure gradient within the solvent contained in the tubes or vials, this means that the samples boil from the top down, helping to prevent "bumping".

    Use a combination of centrifugal force, vacuum and heat to speed evaporation of multiple small samples. They offer maximum throughput required by biology, microbiology, biochemistry, pharmaceutical research and analytical chemistry laboratories

UPDATE: Based on updated info from the OP quoting the method of the paper, it sounds like they're most likely talking about using a centrifugal evaporator to remove solvent.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Five-millimetre-diameter plugs of each filamentous endophytic fungus were inoculated into the centres of Petri dishes (60 mm diameter, 20 ml PDA). The plates were incubated at 25±2 °C for 15 days. The culture materials from each Petri dish were cut and transferred to 50-ml vial tubes containing 35 ml of ethanol (PA, ≥99.8 %, Vetec, Brazil). After 48 h at 10 °C, the organic phase was decanted and the solvent was removed under a vacuum centrifuge at 35 °C (Santiago et al. 2012)." $\endgroup$ – Emil Joson Mar 18 '17 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ from "The diversity, antimicrobial and anticancer activity of endophytic fungi associated with the medicinal plant Stryphnodendron adstringens (Mart.) Coville (Fabaceae) from the Brazilian Savannah." 2012 paper by Carvalho et al. $\endgroup$ – Emil Joson Mar 18 '17 at 3:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Emil Thanks. So follow these steps: 1. Add the pertinent parts of this info to your question (not just in the comments). 2. Go to the references section of Carvalho paper; Locate Santiago et al. 2012 citation, search for it on Google Scholar, and see if they have more info. Update w/ that too. $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 18 '17 at 3:32
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    $\begingroup$ (+1, of course). I am probably going to sound pedantic, and this is maybe a minor point. The Ultracentrifuge (by common consent) was invented by Svedberg, for which he got a Nobel prize in 1926. It was (as far as I know) Jesse Beams, a giant among American physicists, who came up with the idea of using a vaccuum, and this idea was developed by himself and his student Pickels (see here and here and refs therein. $\endgroup$ – user1136 Mar 29 '17 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @tomd thanks for the info! I really knew little about the history of centrifuges before writing this answer (and now seeing your references). I also found a good "story" that walks through the history of the centrifuge. I'll paraphrase some major quotes from it in a subsequent comment. $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 29 '17 at 14:56

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