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Lab Manager Life Science Survey

Do You Need Electrophoresis Systems in Your Lab?

Learn about exciting new applications and more from our latest survey results. 

by Jason Kerkhof

Electrophoresis relies on a basic process—particles moving in an electric field. Known for more than 200 years, this phenomenon still drives fundamental techniques in many labs and its long history plays a role in the widespread use of the technology. Current interest lies in making the technology faster, more accurate, and more sensitive.

Top 9 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Electrophoresis Equipment and Supplies

  1. How many gels per experiment can you run at once in a single electrophoresis cell?
  2. Can you run hand cast and precast gels with the same electrophoresis equipment?
  3. Can you blot in the same tank as you run the gels?
  4. How fast can you run a set of gels with optimal performance?
  5. How fast can you visualize your proteins in the gel?
  6. Do you need any special buffers or sample buffer to run your gel?
  7. Does a precast gel give you the same separation as a hand cast gel?
  8. How fast can you transfer proteins from your gel to a membrane?
  9. How efficiently can you transfer your high molecular weight proteins from your gel to a membrane?

Most common problems users experience when using their electrophoresis systems:

Time to results (not quick enough)42%
Inconsistency in gels30%
Dangers in handling toxic chemicals to make gels22%
Shelf life is too short for gels20%
Not enough control options in the electrophoresis system16%
High labor costs15%
Buffers heating up too much14%

Factors that would help users overcome their electrophoresis challenges:

Newer equipment44%
Better training26%
Newer accessories23%
Better technical support22%
Improved maintenance15%
More instruments11%
More staff10%

Some of the most exciting application for electrophoresis, as reported by users:

Vaccine Analysis

Several vaccines, including the influenza, hepatitis, and polio vaccines, have been purified, processed, and analyzed through electrophoresis. Capillary electrophoresis is an established technique for vaccine analysis, having replaced a variety of traditional methods because it offers greater precision, resolution, linearity, and ease-of-use, and it is also less costly.

Short Tandem Repeat Analysis

Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis involves amplification of certain regions of DNA by PCR followed by electrophoresis to determine the lengths of short tandem repeats. Forensic scientists commonly use STR analysis to distinguish DNA samples from each other.

Do You Want to Get Accurate and Efficient Separations?

Here are some ideas on where to start with getting the best electrophoresis equipment.

For more information on electrophoresis, visit