Precast vs. Handcast Gels for SDS PAGE
March 5th, 2019
Precast Gels Offer Better Data Quality
Most researchers use precast gels; this way they can readily generate consistent and reproducible data, as well as benefit from significant time savings. Precast gels are now available in a wide variety of percentages and formulations, including gradient gels for the resolution of a broader range of proteins. Precast gels also offer greater uniformity and ease of use than traditional handcast alternatives.
Precast gels also represent a far safer approach to protein separation as they eliminate the need to handle the acrylamide monomer. Further benefits of precast gels include high chemical stability, which provides a considerably longer shelf life, so permitting batch reservation.
Handcast Gels Can Delay Workflows
Handcast gels are time consuming to prepare and often need to be repeated, which can make them uneconomical, not only because of the additional time taken, but also due to the waste of reagents. When poured badly, handcast gels result in irregular bands or streaking of proteins. This makes quantitation difficult and can delay downstream workflows while experiments are repeated. Further disadvantages of handcasting include the high potential for introducing user bias and the susceptibility of handcasting apparatus to leakage. Numerous safety implications are associated with handling unpolymerized acrylamide, which is a known neurotoxin and probable human carcinogen.
The Table Below Shows the Main Differences Between Precast and Handcast Gels:
|Precast Gels||Handcast Gels|
|Cost||$$$ / £££||$ / £|
|Risk of toxic side effects||Not applicable||+++|
|Quality Control||+++||Not applicable|
|Shelf life||1–2 years||<1 month|
|Risk of in-gel artifacts (e.g.|
irregular bands / streaking /
|Gel to gel consistency||+++||+|
|Gel to gel variability||Not applicable||++|
|Main users||All||Academia / small |
|Leakage during preparation||Not applicable||++|
If you still prefer to handcast your gels instead of optimizing your time in the laboratory with our range of precast gels, then we have a range of accessories to help you to prepare them. Learn more at: Products for handcast gels.
Hames. Series ed. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. http://www.oup.co.uk/PAS
Pantusa, VP., Stock, TH., Morandi, MT., et al. Inhalation exposures to acrylamide in biomedical laboratories. AIHA J (Fairfax, Va). 2002 Jul-Aug;63(4):468–73.