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Page history last edited by Patrik D'haeseleer 8 years, 11 months ago

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General Notes 

  • In all tests alcohol negatively affected the integrity of the gels (agar-agar and gelatine) when it came to surviving electrophoresis. Agar-agar was not firm enough to be handled when it contained alcohol.
  • Soft gelatin gels kept melting as soon as we turned on the power, presumably from the (small amount of) heat generated by electrophoresis.
  • Doubling the gelatine content of the gel allowed it to survive a full electrophoresis using ~90V over roughly an hour, though migration was very slow (less than a cm).  The consistency was reminiscent of ballistics gel.  
  • Electrophoresis with agar-agar worked better than gelatine. 
  • Adding sugar to agar-agar negatively affected its ability to dissolve and gel properly. We did add extra sugar and orange flavoring to one shotglass with leftover agar-agar gel, and that one seemed to set OK.
  • All gels were cast with water - not running buffer.
  • Agar-agar gels are much less palatable than gelatin gels, mainly because of a very different mouth feel. Agar has a much higher melting temperature, so it doesn't melt in the mouth the way gelatin does. It also seems to make a more brittle gel that tends to snap rather than bending and stretching. Overall, agar gels seem to have a more grainy, "mashed potato" texture in the mouth - not very pleasant.
  • A gel made from a blend of agar and gelatin may be worth pursuing: agar to increase meting temperature and maintain shape during electrophoresis, gelatin for improved elasticity, mouth feel and possibly alcohol content.


Gelatine recipe

  • 3 oz Gelatine

  • 16 oz boiling water

Stir gelatine into boiling water until dissolved.  Pour into mold(s).  Cool in fridge. 


Gelatine recipe with alcohol

  • 3 oz Gelatine

  • 11 oz boiling water

  • 5 oz vodka (80 proof) 

Stir gelatine into boiling water until dissolved.  Stir in Vokda.  Pour into mold(s).  Cool in fridge.


2% agar-agar

  •  2g of agar-agar per 100 mL of boiling water
  • Optional: Flavoring like Orange extract.  We eye-balled ~1 mL.  

To dissolve the agar-agar we added 20 mL of actively boiling water to the agar and stirred until it was mixed well.  A second 20 mL aliquot of actively boiling water was added and it was mixed once again.  This process was repeated until the final volume was reached.  Pour into mold(s).  Cool at room temperature or in fridge.


Loading dye solution

Food coloring being aqueous did not load into gel wells readily and so we made a thicker and heavier solution using sucrose.  We dissolved as much sucrose as possible into a beaker of water.  We then aliquoted out portions of the sugar solution into test tubes - taking care to avoid adding undissolved sugar.  Food coloring can be added to the test tubes at this point.


Running buffer 

A 1 mM Potassium chloride  (KCl, Food grade) solution with 1 mL of lime juice was used as a running buffer.  Due to limitations with our balance actual concentrations of KCl were probably 1 - 3 mM KCl.

(We used KCl instead out of NaCl merely out of convenience - we had picked up some labeled as "salt substitute" at the grocery store. Plain table salt would likely work just as well.)


1 mM KCl = 0.07455 g per 1 L water

Both distilled and tap water were used and no large differences were seen. 


We tasted the buffer while running - because of the salt + lime juice, it tasted like a very weak margherita, diluted with slightly chlorinated tap water. (In fact, a watered down sports drink might make an acceptable running buffer - plenty of electrolytes).





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