Electrophoresis is a process used in forensic labs and other biology labs. It works by placing DNA material in a gel next to comparison samples and controls and applying current to the gel. The shorter molecules move further than the longer molecules through the gel like it was a sieve. Proteins can be sorted out and dyes are used to show the position of the material’s movement. You might have seen some photos of the results if you ever watch a courtroom video where forensic DNA is involved. Often the lawyer or forensic scientist is shown pointing at a acetate sheet with short lines at various intervals. This is an example of electrophoresis results.
So electrophoresis is cool! But you can’t just get some gel and plug it in. You really need an apparatus to do electrophoresis, and they can often be very costly.
But now we have several new electrophoresis apparatuses (appartati?) available. These are excellent for basic classroom work, from High School to College. They are also good for labs as well.
The primary apparatus is the EL-600 Electrophoresis Apparatus
The EL-600 holds 6 7cm x 7cm casting trays, each with a 6 Tooth Comb for making the needed indentations in the gel. (The comb is left in the casting tray when the gel is poured, then the comb is removed leaving divots for the samples to be inserted with minimal disturbance to the gel.
The pieces of the apparatus, which applies to all the Walter Electrophoresis Apparatuses are made of thick acrylic, making it durable and leak-proof. The chamber is UV transparent and includes two knobs at both ends which can be pressed down to assist in easy removal of the lid while minimizing the movement of the unit. The power knobs connection jacks are marked positive and negative and will not allow the cover to fit if the incorrect lead is on or the lead is on incorrectly. The trays are also marked with positive and negative ends.
The EL-100 and EL-200 are essentially the same apparatus, but the EL-100 has a single 7cm x 14cm casting tray while the EL-200 has two 7cm x 7cm casting trays, and two combs to boot.
All these Electrophoresis Kits do require a power supply to operate, either with 75V or 150V. Many labs may already have a power supply available, but in case they do not a power supply is also available:
Now to make the gel, you need Agarose to make the gel, typically 1gm of Agarose is used to make 100ml of gel. Fortunately we have BenchMark Scientific as a supplier of Agarose in 25ml, 100ml and 500ml jars:
Next up in part 2: The classroom and demonstration electrophoresis kits.
Want to purchase Electrophoresis & Biology Equipment for your classroom?