Gel Electrophoresis of Dyes

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In this experiment related to plant biotechnology, learners discover how to prepare and load an electrophoresis gel. They will then run the gels in an electrophoresis system to separate several dyes that are of different molecular sizes and carry different charges. This technique is fundamental to many of the procedures used in biotechnology. This lesson guide includes background information for the educator, safety precautions, and questions with answers for learners. For safety reasons, adult supervision is recommended.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Sample of 0.25% Bromophenol blue
  • Sample of 0.25% Janus green
  • Sample of 1.00% Orange G
  • Sample of 0.25% Safranin O
  • Sample of 0.25% Xylene cyanol
  • Sample of 0.25% Unknown mixture
  • Microtube rack
  • Electrophoresis gel box and power supply
  • 1 gel tray with 6-8 tooth comb
  • 250-ml beaker or graduated cylinder
  • 20-μl micropipette with tips
  • Gloves
  • Paper to cover lab bench
  • 60°C water bath or microwave oven
  • 0.7% agarose solution (enough for 35 ml per gel)
  • Container with TBE buffer (1X)
  • Plastic bag for disposal of waste
  • Distilled water


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
      • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Stephens, Janice ; Leach, Jan


  • All rights reserved, The American Phytopathological Society, 2011