Gel Storage for PAGE - Advance casting of polyacrylamide gels (Oct/23/2010 )
I am currently running polyacrylamide gels with DNA in my lab. Typically, I cast my gels just prior to running them. But, I am wondering if I can pre-cast my own gels and store them for later use, because it would save me a lot of time in the long run. So, can anyone give me storage suggestions? Can I just put the gel in a container with buffer and keep it in the fridge? Or is there a better storage method? Also, how long (approximately) would these gels last? Would the acrylamide polymer eventually degrade? Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions!
I have kept SDS-PAGE separating gel "home-made" pre-cast for at least 3 weeks in fridge (+4 deg.C) in tightly wrapped (no air inside) grip seal bag without any problem. I used small amounts of liquid to keep it from drying - think I used water or running buffer, not sure right now. The best solution to keep your pre-cast gels in should be the same mix as gel itself but with acrylamide replaced with water - this way you won't change pH and molarity.
If you don't let bacteria or fungi in you shouldn't worry about degradation, can't guarantee proper resolving properties though... I've seen polyacrylamide gels getting overgrown by fungi for long months (damn you MSc students!) without any change in integrity and even visibility of the bands.
Commercial gels and columns are preserved with small amounts of Kathon, a wide spectrum biocide not affecting mammals.