Protein Staining like a Pro

Ever wonder how to stain a protein gel like a pro? Or maybe you’ve been disappointed by your staining results? Look no further than this blog post for some protein staining tips and tricks! If you aren’t familiar with protein electrophoresis, I recommend checking out these blog posts first: Tips for Successful SDS-PAGE and Biotechnology Basics: SDS Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis

What do I even stain a SDS Page Gel with?

The most common and popular way to stain a SDS-PAGE gel is with coomassie blue stain, but there are also stains like imperial purple, and silver staining that can be used. Depending on the experiment you’re running, you’ll use one of these stains to visualize your proteins in your gel. The focus of this blog is on coomassie blue stain.

Coomassie blue is a triphenyl methane dye, used to detect proteins after SDS-Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. There are 2 main types of coomassie blue, G-250 and R-250. The G-250 version has more of a greenish tint, while the R-250 has a reddish tint. This is because the R-250 lacks 2 methyl groups that G-250 has.

How do I use coomassie blue?

As always, there are tons of protocols online for any scientific method you may be interested in. At Edvotek, we have a coomassie-based protein stain, called FlashBlue Protein! It is super easy to use, you can overview the instructions here:

Graphic overview of staining using Edvotek's FlashBlue Protein Stain

How can I improve my coomassie staining?

Maybe you’re working on a research project, or just having some overall frustrations or letdowns with how your current method of coomassie staining is going. Here are some tips you can try to improve your results!:

  • Make fresh staining/destaining buffers. Usually these are shelf stable, but sometimes starting fresh can help a lot!
  • FULLY resuspend your coomassie in the buffer. You don’t want any clumps to remain, especially since that can make your stain look blotchy and uneven.
  • Microwave your gel when it is staining for ~10-15 seconds to help the stain permeate a little bit faster.
  • On the flip side, you can also briefly microwave your gel in the destaining step to help the process along faster.
  • Add a KimWipe! When you add a KimWipe to the gel during the destaining process it helps to absorb some of the excess stain that is lingering. Just make sure you tie it in a knot or bundle it up and put it in the corner of your staining/destaining tray so it doesn’t get stuck to your gel.

If you’re experiencing trouble staining or destaining any protein gels associated with our Edvotek kits, please do not hesitate to reach out for technical support! We are available via phone at 1-800-EDVOTEK from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST Monday-Friday to help! You can also email us at, and if you have pictures to send along that helps us help you.

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