Bye bye buffer: Powering an E-Gel System with Bento Lab.

Bento Lab Co-Founder

The E-Gel Electrophoresis System is a convenient, self-contained system for gel electrophoresis. The system uses precast, prestained agarose gels contained within a disposable plastic cassette, which eliminates the need for buffers.

One of our users, Wim Ensink, has made a clever adaptation to enable him to use his Bento Lab with an E-Gel system.

Wim has the E-Gel iBase Power System, an early version of the current E-Gel Simple Runner Electrophoresis Device. He modified a banana plug cable by adding a barrel jack, which allows him to connect the E-Gel system to the Bento Lab electrophoresis output.

Modified banana plug cable allowing the E-Gel system to be powered by Bento Lab
Credit: Wim Ensink, University of Amsterdam 

“The E-Gel system runs from the Bento Lab. In my opinion, this is really handy, especially for those who have little experience in the lab.” 

The E-Gel system is run by a power supply that provides an output of 48V DC, with a current of 0.8A. The Bento Lab supplies an output starting at 50V DC, and Wim noted, “the Bento Lab measures enough current draw at 50V to power the E-Gel”.

Running a 0.8% E-Gel on the iBase system powered by the Bento Lab gel voltage output
Credit: Wim Ensink, University of Amsterdam 

The E-Gel agarose gels are available in a variety of formats, from different stains to different agarose percentages. Wim tested running the set-up with both a 0.8% and 2.0% E-Gel, and both worked well.

Completed run of a 0.8% E-Gel and 2% E-Gel gel
Credit: Wim Ensink, University of Amsterdam 

The version of E-Gel system that Wim has is a discontinued model, which has been replaced by the E-Gel Simple Runner Electrophoresis Device, and a more expensive option, the E-Gel Power Snap Electrophoresis Device. If you are interested in experimenting, you can also get ahold of older E-Gel systems on eBay from $50+.

Wim thinks it may be possible to make the same adaptions for the current models. “I don’t know if it would also work with the newer type of E-Gel systems, but if the adapter specs are the same, then it probably would.” 

For best results with the Bento Lab blue light transilluminator, we would recommend using the E-Gel with SYBR Safe DNA Gel Stain.