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Zinc Negative Stain

This procedure is rapid and sensitive, able to detect 5 - 10 ng protein per band. The proteins are not themselves stained but show as clear transparent bands on an otherwise solid white gel background.

  1. After SdsPage rinse the gel in distilled water for 30 seconds.
  2. Incubate the gel in 0.2 M imidazole, 0.1% SDS for 15 minutes.
  3. Discard the previous solution and incubate the gel in 0.2 M zinc sulphate until the gel background becomes a deep white consistency, about 30 seconds
    • protein bands will be transparent and colourless
  4. Stop the stain by rinsing with copious distilled water.
    • be careful not to overstain the gel
  5. Take a picture of the gel by placing it on a dark background exposed to white light.



Castellanos-Serra L, Proenza W, Huerta V, Moritz RL, Simpson RJ. Electrophoresis 20:732-737 (1999)


I always keep a botlte of inexpensive shampoo in the laundry room. Those " ring around the collar" stains are oil based. The same formula that cleans your hair should remove the stain. Just pour the shampoo on and rub it into the collar. Bar soap also works well. Good luck.
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