Gel electrophoresis equipment is used to separate macromolecules, either nucleic acids or proteins, on the basis of size, electric charge, and other physical properties. Gel electrophoresis equipment allows researchers to maintain a uniform electric field across a gel such as agarose or acrylamide gel. Agarose gels are typically used for separating larger nucleic acids or protein samples. It also provides for a cooling effect that prevents thermal artifacts and allows access to the gel for convenient loading and monitoring.
An essential piece of gel electrophoresis equipment is the gel electrophoresis apparatus, which uses a positive and a negative charged pole generated by electrical currents to separate molecules. These apparatuses come in horizontal or vertical forms. Horizontal gel electrophoresis units are boxes divided into two compartments by a middle platform and are generally used for separating, visualizing samples, and analyzing restrictions. Vertical gel electrophoresis products are typically used for DNA sequencing and consist of negative and positive electrode chambers, sample wells, gel plates, and cooling plates.
Gel electrophoresis equipment uses an electrophoresis power supply attached to a running tank to provide a regulated electric current to separate the charged molecules. Gel electrophoresis tanks, or running tanks, comprise of a flat bed, column, and slab. Another important component to gel electrophoresis equipment are electrophoresis DNA sequencers, which are made of a slab of gel with electrophoresis migration paths sandwiched between two planes of glass. Different DNA samples are inserted into each migration path and moved under the influence of electrophoresis.
Acrylic electrophoresis equipment, such as an acrylic tank, is used to ensure that there are no leaks during the electrophoresis process. The acrylic material allows for durability and full view of contents due to its transparent material. Platinum electrodes for gel electrophoresis provide gel electrophoresis equipment with a uniform, corrosion resistant, electrical field and are embedded in acrylic tanks for an even current flow. Nucleic acid electrophoresis equipment is used for analytical and preparative studies of nucleic acids and usually comprises of a removable UV-transparent gel-casting tray, end gaskets that allow the gel to be cast directly in the running tank, and buffer recirculation ports.