The trajectories of spheres during agarose gel electrophoresis.

G. A. Griess, R. A. Harris, P. Serwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


To develop a physical description of the gel-induced retardation of spheres during gel electrophoresis, the microscopic motion of single electrically charged latex spheres is statistically quantified here, by digital image analysis. To obtain adequate resolution in space, comparatively large spheres, 240 nm in radius, are used. The following observations are made during electrophoresis in a 0.2% agarose gel at 22 degrees C: (a) When a comparatively high field (3.0 V cm-1) is used, inelastic collisions result in field-induced trapping of spheres; no elastic collisions are observed. (b) Reduction of the field from 3.0 to 0.0 V cm-1 results in reverse migration of previously trapped spheres. (c) In the absence of trapping, the electrical field does not cause an alteration in the tortuosity of motion (i.e. motion in a field-perpendicular direction). (d) When results are obtained for a constant time between images (0.2 s), gel-dependent deviations from a true random walk are not observed in the absence of trapping. (e) When results are obtained as a function of time between images, significant gel-dependent deviation from a random walk is observed. In the absence of trapping, the data presented here indicate that retardation is derived primarily from dissipative processes that are concentrated near gel fibers. However, steric effects have not yet been distinguished from hydrodynamic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-315
Number of pages11
JournalApplied and theoretical electrophoresis : the official journal of the International Electrophoresis Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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