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great Western blots

There are a lot of lab gadgets and gizmos out there touted to make your life easier. Some of them are worth having and some of them…well, let’s just say they look cool sitting on the bench, but their practicality is questionable.

Advansta is offering up some gadgets and products that are designed to give you great Western blots.  They are definitely worth trying out!

Incubation trays

Ok, I know what you are thinking. Why should I spend money on incubation trays when I can just use the lids from my tip boxes (they’re free – duh!).

Well, I’ll tell you why.

First, appropriately sized incubation trays can save you money because you will use less antibody. Advansta sells several different sized trays – buy the one that is closest to the size of your blots, and you will need less solution to cover them during incubations.

Second, trays made for blots cut down on your background. Raise your hand if you have ever seen a weird swirly circle on your blot. Those circles are from divets or raised points in the tip box lids. Trays designed for Western blots have a smooth bottom free of defects. Having trouble with speckled background or random small spots? The most common cause of this background is dirt or particulates. Advansta’s incubation trays come with lids to prevent dirt from falling into your solutions. And the best part? The lids are attached so you won’t have to scour the lab looking for them.

Third, you don’t have to foil-wrap your trays when working with fluorescent antibodies. You can buy opaque black body and lid trays that will keep the light out.

WesternBright ChemiPen

This gadget is probably my favorite. I would also like to point out that I thought of it first. In graduate school I used to use a glow in the dark crayon to mark my blots. Unfortunately, as the ECL technology got better, the exposure times decreased, and my handy crayon wasn’t powerful enough to show up on the blots anymore.

Advansta has solved this problem. The WesternBright ChemiPen contains a proprietary ink that can be used to trace protein standards, mark orientation, or claim the blot with your signature – and it will all show up on your x-ray film or in your CCD-generated images. Another advantage to the pen – the ink actually reacts with HRP substrates to generate light – it’s a built in control to make sure your reagents are working correctly.

Development folders

I have enough trouble with saran wrap at home, I shouldn’t have to fight with it in the lab too! It never seems to stick when I want it to and then sticks to itself when I am trying to lay out a big piece. I also seem to spend an inordinate amount of time squishing out bubbles and crinkles after my blot is wrapped.

The saran wrap battle is ended with Advansta’s development folders. These handy gadgets are transparent, plastic folders into which you sandwich your blot for easy handling and imaging. They can be used for both chemiluminescent and fluorescent imaging and prevent blot artifacts by keeping your blot clean and flat.

Background quenching sheets

Ever wish there was something you could use to reduce your overall background when imaging with a CCD camera? Well there is! Advansta sells background quenching sheets – something you can put under your blot prior to imaging that will reduce noise from stray light, reflections from overly bright bands or background from contamination of equipment. They work when imaging either chemiluminescent or fluorescent blots and are particularly helpful when doing longer exposures.

Hopefully these gizmos will help make your life easier and keep the gremlins out of your experiments!


Photo courtesy of poppet with a camera

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