Electrophoresis is an analytical method in which a controlled electric current is used in order to separate biomolecules according to their size to electric charge ratio, using a gelatinous matrix as a base. This technique has a variety of practical uses, such as forensic medicine for human identification, the human genome project, protein and genetic mutation research, and clinical diagnostic testing.

Electrophoresis is carried out with equipment composed of a negative charge at one end and a positive charge at the other, called an electrophoresis system. When inserting charged molecules, in this environment, the negative ones will go to one extreme and the positive ones to the other corresponding. For example, when analyzing proteins on a gel, in these kits, the entire protein is taken to analyze its size. In this way, the shorter ones will migrate to the poles more quickly and will be reflected in the lower part of the gel. Instead, the longest will be at the top.

An electrophoresis apparatus sitting on the desk, doing what it does best: protein immunoblotting while seperating the molecules!

Types of products for the electrophoresis application in the laboratory

Vertical Electrophoresis Systems

The vertical gel electrophoresis technique works according to the primary theory of gel electrophoresis, but is considered to be more complex than the horizontal gel electrophoresis method. This technique uses a discontinuous buffer. A cathode is located in the upper chamber, and the anode is located in the lower chamber. The electrodes present in each compartment provide the required electric field. A thin layer of gel is poured between the two mounted glass plates.

Therefore, the upper part of the gel is immersed in the upper chamber, and the lower part of the gel is immersed in the lower chamber. Once the current is applied, a small portion of the buffer moves to the lower chamber from the upper chamber through the gel.

In vertical gel electrophoresis, the buffer only flows through the gel. This allows precise control of the voltage gradient during the separation stage. Acrylamide gel can be used as the compartments are not exposed to atmospheric oxygen. Due to the smaller pore size of the acrylamide gel, precise separation can be achieved with higher resolution.


Horizontal Electrophoresis Systems

Horizontal gel electrophoresis uses the basic theory for the separation of DNA, RNA or protein molecules according to their respective molecular size and charge. In this technique, the gel is present in a horizontal orientation and is immersed in a buffer that is continuous. The agarose gel is used to separate the gel box into two compartments.

One end of the gel box contains an anode, while the other end contains a cathode. When a current is applied, the buffer used in this technique allows the creation of a charge gradient. When the load is applied, the gel tends to heat up.

The buffer also functions as a coolant, keeping the temperature at optimal levels. Recirculation of the running buffer prevents the formation of a pH gradient. A discontinuous buffer system cannot be used in horizontal gel electrophoresis as the two compartments of the gel system connect with the running buffer.

Gel electrophoresis | Chemical processes

Learn how gel electrophoresis separates DNA and protein fragments based on size and why one would use agarose gel electrophoresis versus SDS-PAGE.

In this technique, molecules are separated according to size and electrical charge. The gel used in gel electrophoresis is generally made from a material called agarose, which is a gelatinous substance extracted from seaweed. This porous gel could be used to separate macromolecules of many different sizes. The gel is immersed in a buffer solution of the salt in an electrophoresis chamber. Tris-borate-EDTA (TBE) is commonly used as the buffer. Its main function is to control the pH of the system. The chamber has two electrodes – one positive and one negative – at its two ends.

Electrophoresis systems needed in a laboratory


In Kalstein you can find the ideal Electrophoresis systems for  your laboratory

Electrophoresis is a common technique in the clinical laboratory. It allows the separation of chemical species (nucleic acids or proteins) along an electric field based on their size and their electric charge.

Agarose gel electrophoresis

Agarose gel is a good electrophoretic support. In addition, its nature gives it the characteristic of being able to separate molecules based on their size. This support allows nucleic acids to be separated based on their size. It is used to separate large molecules.

Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

Polyacrylamide gel is considered the best support. They also have great mechanical stability and are insoluble in water. Among so many advantages there is a drawback that is limiting its use: it is neurotoxic. It is used for the separation of proteins and, like the agarose gel, allows the separation of molecules based on their size.

Capillary electrophoresis

This technique differs a lot from the previous ones. The support is different, since it uses fused silica capillaries, covered with a layer of polyimine. The results are visualized through a computer screen.

Featured product

YR horizontal gel electrophoresis units have been designed by scientists with the laboratory environment in mind. Our YR Horizontal Electrophoresis tanks provide an easy to use and flexible platform for all your horizontal electrophoresis requirements. With a wide range of tanks and tray sizes as well as many comb options, these systems can handle all manner of electrophoresis experiments.

Our YR series of Horizontal Gel Units offers the most versatile solution for DNA and RNA agarose gel electrophoresis currently on the market. These model offer an unsurpassed combination of gel and buffer volume, with gel size and sample number versatility.


What is your ideal electrophoresis systems for your laboratory?

There are countless models, so it is normal that you do not know which electrophoresis system to buy to suit your needs. At Kalstein, we evaluate them to find what you are looking for.

What is an electrophoresis system?

Electrophoresis is an analytical method in which a controlled electric current is used in order to separate biomolecules according to their size to electric charge ratio, using a gelatinous matrix as a base..


Horizontal and vertical electrophoresis

Gel electrophoresis is a laboratory technique used in genetics to separate mixtures containing DNA, RNA, and other proteins according to their respective molecular size and charge...


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