Staining gels in a microwave

rjanssen_imm at rjanssen_imm at
Sat Aug 3 20:12:26 EST 1996

In article <31FCDD28.48BC at>, Ed Beaty <ebeaty at> writes:
> Shane Atwell %Kuntz wrote:
>> Our lab regularly uses the microwave to speed up staining and destaining
>> of SDS-coomassie gels. I microwave 1-2 minutes (just to boiling) with
>> stain, shake for a couple minutes, then destain in the same manner
>> (microwave 1-2 minutes, shake), repeating with fresh destain once or
>> twice. The whole thing can be finished in <15 minutes. Sometimes there's
>> a film of commassie left on the gel. I think this is correlated with
>> heating the gel in stain too long. Sometimes a longer destain is
>> required to clean the gel up before preservation.
>> SA
> This may not be too safe, since most Coomassie stains have mehtanol + acetic acid in it.  The methanol vapors 
> could (maybe) ignite from sparks in the Microwave, and hot acetic acid fumes can't be good for your lungs.
> And don't run with scissors, either.  ;)
> But maybe heating up the Coomassie to 50 degC or so in an incubator?  Maybe heat alone would be sufficient to 
> accelerate the staining?
> Ed Beaty

Another tip for faster destaining: Heat up the destaining solution to about 70
degrees C and put pieces of kimwipes in the corners of the tray. They suck up
the dye really fast.

Question: Does the gel change shape more than usual when stained with hot 

Good luck

Richard Janssen  

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