What this country needs . . .

frist at ccu.umanitoba.ca frist at ccu.umanitoba.ca
Fri Jul 12 10:27:06 EST 1991

In article <0094B723.8192D880 at m44.unm.edu> kim at m44.unm.edu writes:
>What this country needs . . . is a good $50.00 microfuge.
.... deleted info on cheap alternative labware ...
>Does anyone out there have any other cheap alternatives to expensive lab
>equipment that they can share?
>Daniel kim

My favorite is the ice-bucket cooling bath. Ligations and nick-translations
simply do not need the precise temperature control provided by refrigerated
water baths. All you need is a large ice bucket (>4L capacity), such as
those that are used for shipping enzymes or isotopes. Line it with a
garbage bag to prevent leaks, and fill the bag with water. Add crushed ice
and stir with a thermometer, adding ice until it gets down to the
temperature you want. If the volume of water is large enough, its
temperature will only go up maybe a couple of degrees during an overnight
ligation. This approach has the added advantage that it's actually faster
to bring the water to temperature by adding ice, than waiting for a
refrigerated waterbath to get down to temperature. 

Another oldie but goodie is the EtOH-cooled vacume trap. When
drying down gels or evaporating samples, you need to have a cooled trap in
line to protect your pump. All you need is a 500ml sidearm vacume flask
with appropriate stopper and tubing, and a styrofoam ice bucket big enough
to fit the flask. Cut off just enough of one corner of the lid so that the
upper part of the flask, including the sidearm, protrude out of the bucket
when the lid is on. The flask is cooled with 95% EtOH that is kept stored
in nalgene bottles in the -80 freezer. Either line the bucket with a bag,
or place the flask in a beaker or other plastic container to contain the
EtOH and prevent leaks. You can re-use the EtOH indefinitely. Again, this
technique has the advantage that you don't have to wait for the
refrigeration to get going, as long as you keep cold EtOH on hand.
Brian Fristensky                |  
Department of Plant Science     | Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy
University of Manitoba          | to go fly a kite.
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2  CANADA    |  
frist at ccu.umanitoba.ca          | 
Office phone:   204-474-6085    |   - Robert A. Heinlein
FAX:            204-275-5128    |

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