Save money with your gel and blot imaging
The choice between digital imaging and using film for gel and blot documentation is generally based on what the lab has done historically and the availability of equipment and reagents within the lab. Depending on the scenario, the use of film for protein and DNA detection is still popular as it has been the gold standard for decades. However, if you are still using film, you should consider some benefits of digital imaging.
Firstly, consider the ease of use. Digital imaging certainly saves time. Streamlined and digitally saved protocols can capture images quickly. Film requires careful preparation, dark room time, and working in minimal red light to ensure proper set up. By creating multiple exposures of film the method is lengthy and tedious. Digital imaging, on the other hand, offers a final image in a ready-to-use format for insertion into your electronic lab notebook, manuscript, or publication.
You achieve quantitative results. Digital imaging of gels and blots is quantitative and reproducible. Film development yields qualitative, not quantitative results. While it is possible to use densitometry to quantify band intensities, dynamic range is greatly reduced and image saturation remains unknown. Digital imaging provides saturation limits for more accurate quantitation.
The equipment can have multiple uses. Many different applications can now be used in a gel documentation system. The Aplegen Omega Lum C for example can image DNA and protein gels, as well as visible, fluorescent, and chemiluminescent blots.
Finally, you save money. The advances of digital imaging have reduced the availability of film and development reagents, resulting in an increase in cost of these items. A typical experiment using film would require 3 exposures each. If gels and blots are used the cost increases even more. Eliminating dark rooms, film, chemicals will save costs down the road.
Digital gel and blot documentation equipment such as the Aplegen Omega Lum C can provide reliable, quantifiable results that are faster, greener, and easier to use, and will save money in the long run.