InstantBlue® Protein Stain

InstantBlue® Ready to Use Coomassie Protein Stain for Polyacrylamide Gels


InstantBlue is a ready to use Coomassie protein stain for polyacrylamide gels. Its unique mechanism of action stains proteins in 15 minutes, while leaving a clear background eliminating the need to fix, wash or destain. Formulated for safe use and easy disposal, it’s ready to use straight out of the bottle and comes in convenient premixed one liter volumes. Perfect for use with the InstantBlue Stain Tray.

The unique patented mechanism for rapid Coomassie blue staining of protein gels begins in moments, and results are achieved within 15 minutes. Some premade and traditional homemade Coomassie R-250 protein stains can take three hours or more to fully stain gels.

Why InstantBlue Protein Stain?

There’s no need to wash, fix, microwave or destain gels when using InstantBlue. Homemade stains often require all these steps and most premade solutions require at least one. InstantBlue uses a simple and easy to use one step protocol.

Unparalleled sensitivity allows protein levels as low as 5ng per band to be detected (BSA) when staining overnight. This is thanks to InstantBlue’s protein specific staining, which gives a clear background, improving the signal / noise ratio of the stain. Despite the staining power, gels can be left in InstantBlue for weeks and still come out with a crystal clear background, all without the need for destaining or protein stain remover.

The nontoxic formula is sink disposable and thanks to its methanol free composition will not shrink gels. Other stains require solvent disposal procedures and can require microwaving, which produces dangerous fumes. The effective staining and safe composition of InstantBlue means that there’s no need for microwaving, solvent disposal, or fume hoods.

InstantBlue will stain at least 40 mini gels per bottle, boasting economical staining with only 25ml per mini gel. As a result, this allows you to use less protein staining solution when compared to 50–100ml of stain per gel for homemade solutions and some premixed solutions.

Fully compatible with mass spectrometry, gels can be destained using standard procedures. The protein staining solution’s acetic acid free formulation means it will not methylate or acetylate protein during the protein staining protocol.

Key Benefits

  • Ultra fast staining – Results in 15 minutes or less
  • One step procedure – No washing, fixing, microwaving or destaining
  • High sensitivity – 5ng bands detectable*
  • Clear background – High signal / noise ratio
  • Flexible – No overstaining
  • Reliable – Stringent batch to batch consistency
  • Efficient – Only 25ml per gel
  • Safe composition – Nontoxic; no fume hood or solvent disposal required
  • Methanol free – No gel shrinkage or protein methylation
  • Acetic acid free – No protein acetylation
  • Mass spectrometry compatible – Destainable. No residual methylation or acetylation.

InstantBlue Coomassie Protein Stain vs. Competitor Coomassie Stains

InstantBlue® (Expedeon)SimplyBlue™ (Invitrogen)GelCode Blue™ (Pierce)Homemade
No need to wash before staining
No need to fix before staining✔️✔️
No need to heat or microwave✔️✔️✔️
No need to destain✔️
No risk of overstaining if left too long✔️
Nontoxic and easily disposed of✔️✔️

*INSTANTBLUE is a registered trademark of Expedeon Ltd in the US and an unregistered trademark elsewhere.

  1. What is the sensitivity of InstantBlue?

    It can detect as low as 5 ng of protein (BSA).

  2. Does InstantBlue has an upper limit of detection?

    The stain does have an upper limit dependent on the volume of the InstantBlue Stain used. The more InstantBlue, the more Coomassie dye that is free to bind to protein. Once the Coomassie dye is exhausted, then it can’t stain anymore protein. If that is ever the case, just simply add more stain and more dye will be bound. Approximately, 20-25 mL of stain can stain up to 40 ug of total protein per lane (12 lanes per gel).

  3. Is it possible to restain the gel to reveal what’s in the affected area? Also, would staining on a lab shaker eliminate the possibility of this happening?

    Yes, they can restain with the same solution. A shaker would be a great and if staining for a long time (like overnight) we say to put a lid on the staining dish so nothing dries out or oxidizes.

  4. It is written that no “fixing” of the protein is necessary with InstantBlue, the fixing occurs during the incubation with InstantBlue or whether no fixation at all is happening during the process?

    With the InstantBlue the fixing is occurring during the incubation with the stain. The is the reason why in the manual and on the bottle we recommend staining for 1 hour. Although bands are usually visible after 15 minutes they are not fixed at this stage. This is fine for people who just want to take an image or cut bands out for mass spec for example. But if they were to transfer the gel to water after this time then the stain would diffuse away from the protein. After around 1 hour the stain will be fixed in the gel.

  5.  Why silver staining isn’t working following InstantBlue coomassie stain and wash?

    Probably need to wash gel 3x 100 ml water before silver stain. They are likely staining SDS sequestering agent. They could also leave gel in stain overnight to see fainter bands,  but still need water wash before silver stain”

  6. Is there any test to check if the InstanBlue solution has been diluted?

    Take a sample from a brand new unopened bottle and a sample from the suspect bottle. Then add BSA to both samples to a final concentration of 1mg/ml. Both samples should now be blue. Dilute this and measure the absorbance at 600nm in a UV spectrophotometer. You would need to experiment with the dilution ratio to get in the right range for the UV spec but it is going to be 10x or more. Both samples should be diluted the same amount. If UV absorbance of the suspect sample is much lower than the one from the new bottle then yes the suspected sample has been diluted.

  7. Instant Blue was left out on the lab bench over the weekend. Please let me know if this will affect product performance or shelf life?

    Being at room temperature for the weekend will not affect the product performance or shelf life.

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