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Operation Green Lab: Sustainably Sourced Agarose and Agar

By: Rebecca Peterson

Here at IBI Scientific, we understand the importance of consistent lab results. Pure, high quality reagents are critical in achieving reliable outcomes. Shortages in the agar and agarose industry have historically created challenges for manufacturers to guarantee a dependable product. Keep reading to find out how your lab supports green practices when you purchase IBI sustainably sourced agarose and agar. Purity, price and reliability!

 

Where are IBI agarose and agar products sourced from?

IBI Scientific agar and agarose products are derived from the highest quality red algae in the world—har­vested from seaweed beds off the coasts of Southern Europe, North Africa, North America, South America and Oceania.

 

Why is sustainability important in the agar and agarose industry?

A greater demand for agar and agarose over the last century has not come without difficulties. Historically, overharvesting of seaweed beds has created significant supply chain shortages, leaving behind barren wastelands in its wake. With the institution of rotational harvesting, divers now adhere to strict harvesting quotas and monitoring of seaweed bed growth. Not only has the availability of these products improved with sustainable practices, but a consistently accessible source makes maintenance of product purity possible. The global market for agar and agarose has also secured fairer prices because of these practices.

 

Properties:

Agar

Bacteriological agar is a mixture of 2 components—the linear polysaccharide agarose and a smaller molecule called agaropectin. Bacteriological agar is used as a gelling agent in the preparation of culture media for microbiological applications. High quality Bac-Agar is void of any inhibitors that can mask optimal development of microorganisms. It should also have other properties such as transparency, a large hysteresis and batch-to-batch reproducibility.

Agarose

Agarose is a polysaccharide formed by the union of B-D-Galactopyranose linked by 1-4 bonds. This basic repeating unit, called agarobiose, forms long chains. This structure contains charged (i.e. sulfate and pyruvate, etc.) and uncharged groups—all contributing to the many properties of agarose, including:

  • Gel strength: The force necessary to break a gel, expressed in g/cm2
  • Gelling Temperature: Temperature at which an agarose solution forms a gel
  • Melting Temperature: Temperature at which the gel becomes a solution
  • EEO (electroendosmosis): Measure of the number of charged groups present in the agarose

 

IBI Scientific Agarose Products

Standard Molecular Biology Agarose—ideal for rapid separation of DNA and RNA fragments, as well as PCR products, plasmid preparations, detections, cloning and transfer techniques.

  • Easy dissolution and fast gelling
  • Excellent transparency and low background staining for clear visibility of bands
  • Sharp, well defined bands
  • Very low DNA fixation

Basic Molecular Biology Agarose—slightly less refined agarose that is ideal for routine electrophoresis procedures. An excellent low-cost agarose for resolving molecules greater than 1kb in size and more than 15% in size of each other.

  • Exceptional gel strength
  • Clear, concise bands
  • Does not adversely affect other downstream applications – gel extraction, sequencing, etc.

 

Low Melt Agarose (Molecular Biology Grade)—commonly used as a gel matrix when fragment recovery is desired after electrophoresis. The properties of low melt agarose promote quick and thorough digestion of gel slices during gel extraction allowing a maximum amount of DNA to be recovered from the gel. Ideal for when you have a limited amount of DNA.

  • Lower gel strength than Standard or Basic agarose
  • Higher clarity and gel transparency than standard agarose
  • Greater sieving capacity than standard agarose

 

Choose IBI sustainable products for purity, price and reliability!

Your molecular biology procedures can develop without setbacks. When you choose IBI sustainably sourced agar and agarose products, rest assured that the reagent you love will continue to be there for you 3, 5 or more years down the road. Keep your lab green when you purchase IBI Scientific agarose and agar!

 

Sources:

Hispanagar. (2020). Manufacturers of purified seaweed extracts. Retrieved September 21, 2020, from https://www.hispanagar.com/en/company

 

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