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Viewing Gels - (Jan/01/2010 )


I am using a UV gel documentation system to visualize ethidium bromide-stained DNA. For some reason I need to look directly at the gel while being exposed to UV ( for a short period of course ) . For that , I need UV resistant goggles, but we don't currently have them in the lab because we used to rely on the camera attached to the system . However , we do have plastic glasses for protection against chemicals etc . I am thinking that since Plastic ( Polycarbonate ) is known to be opaque to UV so I can use them instead. I've done a little experiment to support my assumption. I actually managed to put the glasses in the light path of a UV spectrophotometer, closed the lid and read the absorption at 260nm and it was infinity.

So what would you think?


Bad Idea, you should protect your eyes from the UV. Something like glasses used for in the snow can help you.


should be okay! The polycarbonate lens should shield your eyes from the UV!

To my point of view cutting bands from a agarose gel is not that big health threat need to expose your eyes for a long time to the UV to irridate them (but that does not mean to disobey safety precautions).



Most UV transilluminators expose at 305 nm, which is where you need to measure absorbance. Some expose at 365 nm or 254 nm, but those are less common.