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Electrophoresis. 1998 Jul;19(10):1606-10.

Agarose gel structure using atomic force microscopy: gel concentration and ionic strength effects.

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Institut Charles Sadron, CNRS, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.


Agarose gels have been studied by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The experiments were especially designed to work in aqueous conditions, allowing direct observation of the "unperturbed" gel without invasive treatment. AFM images clearly show strong dependence of pore diameter and its distribution on ionic strength of the solvent. As the ionic strength increases, the distribution becomes broader and the position of its maximum shifts toward higher values. The evolution of the distribution curves indicates that gels become more homogeneous with decreasing Tris-borate-EDTA (TBE) buffer concentration. An empirical law of the mean pore diameter as a function of the ionic strength is established. In agreement with our previous work we found that, for a given ionic strength, the pore diameter increases when the agarose concentration decreases and that the wide pore diameter distribution narrows as the gel concentration increases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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