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QIAGEN Spin Columns and Minipreps - Alternatives?! - (Aug/15/2012 )

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Hello forum,

I've been using QIAGENs miniprep kit to prepare plasmid DNA from E.coli cells. All is good except that I always find that I run
out of columns to catch the plasmid DNA and thus I have lots and lots of reagent over but have to buy an entire new kit if I
want to continue to make. The kit itself is super-expensive and all I want are more columns.

I rang up QIAGEN and asked if I could buy more spin columns - nope. They're the limiting component in the kit, they're expensive
to manufacture, they're not sold separately, "and that's what I was paying for" and "we put in excess columns in there..." I was told.

Not happy!

Well I can't be out wasting my money on entire kits that cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars when all I want is just more
spin columns. Does anyone have any suggestions for alternative plasmid prep kits where I don't have this problem / a
ren't milked for all the cash?



-Luria Bertani-

Macherey & Nagel sells the columns separetely. We also have the same problem you described. Plus, buffer A1 runs first out among all the buffers. Now we prepare it ourselves. It is a simple TE buffer + RNAse.



YES!! I noticed that the A1 buffer runs out early as well.

-Luria Bertani-

Huh...I've never looked at it that way...I've always thought of the extra solutions as a bonus.

I happily use the excess resus, lysis and neutralisation buffer to do quick mini preps (and ethanol ppt the dna) for screening etc etc and then just use the columns on stuff that I need to be clean for future applications.

Its true the columns are the expensive part, so I think even if you could purchase them separately, they would be almost as expensive as a new kit anyway.

Isn't it normal to provide x amount of the expensive component, and then the rest of the (cheaper) reagents in excess?

Its like when you buy an enzyme and get excess reaction buffer- I would never think to be annoyed that they hadn't given me only the exact amount I need.

Have I been looking at this the wrong way around all these years?

Just my 2 cents


As a greenhorn here, I remember reading about reusing spin columns. I don't know how well a 'reconditioned' column will perform but if anyone's interested: http://www.protocol-...posts/6134.html


Epoch labs also sells inexpensive columns, and instructions on making the reagents.

See also:


Some companies sell kits for regeneration of silica columns and also buffer sets such as Applichem


I personally believe that the only thing worth buying from the kits are the silica columns. Anything else is just simple buffer you can make yourself. Buying a TE buffer from a company is a total waste of money.

In the old times (like 10-15 years ago) they did not have all the fancy kits. They only had the protocols in Sambrock and Maniatis Molecular cloning and they minipreped just fine:) But those protocols result in a quality not appropriate for sequencing (I had bad experience with that). But for most of other applications, you save lots of money with them. Just to put it in numbers: 250 columns are 125€ while the kit with 250 columns + some simple buffers is 243€.

@phage434: thanks for the Qiagen buffers. Our technician will be blissful tomorrow:)



Yeah I also consider Qiagen kits being merely a bunch of columns with buffers in excess, it's definitelly the most expensive part.

I heard about Epoch columns as being good enough replacement for original Qiagen, when used with home made "Qiagen" buffers from Openwetware, I even read somewhere on their pages that these are exactly the same columns, just not branded, but can't find this claim now. I was planning to test it as an alternative, but kind of haven't time for that yet.
I think this is safer way than to regenerate columns, you can't be sure you don't cross-contaminate.

We were looking for some cheaper alternatives for gel extraction that we do a lot, bought a Geneaid kit that's like 3 times cheaper, but testing showed 2x lower yield from the same amount on gel. Still it seems fair for the price, but the problem was not only overal yield was lower, but also the elution volume was bigger, so the concentration was actually out of the trustworthy spectrophotometric measurement. So, goodbye cheap kit, I better take my chances in sequencing reactions with MinElute.

However, Geneaid also offers plasmid miniprep kits, that are also cheap and though the yield is probably also lower than Qiagen would be, that is not that important in this case, it's enough because we usually do minipreps only for checking if the plasmid is right.


phage434 on Wed Aug 15 13:45:22 2012 said:

Epoch labs also sells inexpensive columns, and instructions on making the reagents.

See also: http://openwetware.o.../Qiagen_Buffers

did anybody try out this is this regeneration protocol at the end of the page? Is it good?

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