Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gel Illumination Box

I have put together some parts I hope to use in the making of a gel illumination box. I will use this to illuminate my gels (stained and partially stained gels) and/or chromatography papers to give me a clearer picture of my separation bands. Many times they are very hard to see.

The box is a cookie/candy tin with the lid having a see-through portion (you can take any cookie tin or box and cut out part of the lid). I will place a light (I found an old broken plastic Christmas candle and removed the light, switch and cord from on top of it) in side the tin. The on/off switch and cord are kept on the outside of the box (they will pass through a hole on a side wall). The see-through portion is made of clear plastic. It is not very rigid but is sturdy. I can lay gels or papers on it to let light pass through and give me a clearer picture of my separation bands.

I also have some white plastic used for shading fluorescent lighting that I found in the trash. I will use this to diffuse the light and as a support for the gels and papers. It will make for easier clean up as well.

Later I will post the finished product.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gel Electrophoresis

Top picture shows a gel electrophoresis chamber that came with the Discovery DNA Kit. The CSI DNA kit has one as well. The chamber uses 3 - 9 volt batteries. The gel is made using 9 ml of agar or agarose. It makes 3 wells for loading and runs from negative to positive. It is a nice little chamber and works well.

Here in the lower picture I bring together all the items I will need to put together a gel electrophoresis chamber of my own. This will allow me to add more wells and to place the wells in different spots on the gel.

I have a plastic bin for the chamber(this holds everything in place, the gel, sample, buffer and electrodes). I will use a plastic lozenges box for the gel chamber (you can use a soap dish or any other dish that will fit into the main chamber or box). You cut the ends off the lozenges box and use either masking tape or I will try and use Glad press and seal on the ends to form the gel. The styrofoam will be used to make a comb to form the wells in the gel. I will cut out a few different ones. The aluminum will be placed on the inside sides of the large box on opposite ends and will be used as electrodes. I will look for some stainless steal nails or screws to replace the aluminum.

To power the electrophoresis I will be using a old model train transformer that I found and repaired. It goes from 0 - 21 volts, not nearly enough voltage but it will do until I can come up with something better. Or I could use 3-5 9 volt batteries for the power supply.

You can see a couple of packages of agar-agar that I found at an Asian store. These will be used for the gel. I do have some powdered agarose (but not much about 1.5 gm) that I will compare with the agar-agar in my tests.

Here are some web sites that may help in constructing the gel electrophoresis: