Electrophoresis Accessories

Electrophoresis refers to the motion of dispersed particles relative to a fluid under the influence of a spatially uniform electric field. It is caused by the presence of charged interface between the particles surface and surrounding fluid. This technique is useful in chemistry for separating molecules by size, charge or binding affinity. In laboratories a negative charge is applied so proteins move towards the positive charge. In order to perform electrophoresis, a number of accessories are necessary. Polyacrylamide gel makes a clearer resolution than agarose gel and is more suitable for quantitative analysis. Nucleic acid electrophoresis needs the molecules to be set upon a viscous medium gel. They can be visualised with a fluorescent dye which shows the results as 'bands' according to different molecular weight. Ethidium bromide makes DNA/RNA visible while negatively charged loading buffers make DNA visible in natural light. Blotters are used to transfer DNA to nitrocellulose membrane to be visible and western blotting diagnoses diseases. The use of electrophoresis accessories is highly specialised and is only used in research or forensic laboratories concerned with DNA and RNA analysis. The gels and techniques can be used to assess DNA damage as well as understanding why bacteria resist antibiotics.

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