Any concerns about using DEPC treated water?

Patrick Lynch
Wed Feb 28 08:28:32 EST 2001


I've often wondered about the use of DEPC myself - for one thing, it's a
suspected carcinogen and disturbingly, you usually can smell it around RNA
labs.  I suspect that its use in simple RNA extraction procedures, such as
extraction of total RNA using Trisol? reagents, is unnecessary.  After all,
these solutions will inactivate all endogenous RNAses in the tissue, so why
pre-treat with DEPC?  It may have some benefits in situations where the RNA
is not protected by phenol/guanidium.  However, it is now possible to use
non-toxic alternatives to DEPC - RNaseZap from Ambion comes to mind, but I'm
too sure about the costs.

Another issue is the possibility of RNAse contamination of millipore water
(or any system that uses cartridges to filter water).  Bacteria may be able
to grow in these columns (check out the sludge when these filters are
changed!).  I know that a lot of these systems use UV irradiation to kill
off anything in the final product but I'm not too sure if that's good enough
for RNAses.  Thus, it may be a better solution to use double distilled water
instead.

Patrick



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