Reused Electroporation Cuvettes?

ellenmq at
Wed Aug 3 20:40:02 EST 1994

We have been using both Bio-Rad and Invitrogen's electroporation cuvettes and
have been reusing both with no problem about 10-12 times each. VWR sells
the BTX cuvettes and were the next ones I was going to use due to discounts

The way we reuse them is as follows:

Rinse immediately with water, the 10% bleach for 10 minutes, rinse with 
water thoroughly then 75% ethanol three times, put foil on top and put into
a 70 degree oven overnight, cool and store at 4 degrees so that they are
always prechilled and ready to use. 

Our lab has had good results and no cross contamination between samples.
We also did a comparison between brand new cuvettes and reused ones to 
make certain that there would not be a decrease in transformation efficiency
and the results from this  showed that the transformations produced nearly
the same number of colonies plus or minus 5 colonies with the same tube
of cells. 

Any cuvettes that I have been mildly suspect of, I put 50 ul of 10% glycerol
and do a "mock" electroporation to see if the cuvette arcs. Basically you
just need to look for the insulating plastic to have cracks in it between the
two metal sides, or look at the bottom of the cuvette which usually is very
cracked up looking. These two characteristics in 11 of 12 cuvettes meant
that the cuvette would arc if used. After a while you can spot the bad ones
without having to test them.  It really saves on dollars and isn't that 
cumbersome to do. Be careful not to let the bleach sit too long or it will
corrode the metal--only use 10% bleach---10 ml of standard household bleach
(5.25% sodium hypochlorite) plus 90 ml of water.

Hope this helps. 

Ellen M. Quardokus
Indiana University-Bloomingto

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