Learn what to do with leftover GelCups and reagents, and your lab refrigerator could be as clean as this!

For most of you, it is the home stretch– AP exams are done, finals are almost over, and it is time to clean up and reassess from another engaging year doing hands-on science with MiniOne products.

Are you facing the same situation as this teacher when you look through the fridge where the DNA, dyes, buffers and other assorted reagents are stored?

Hi MiniOne Team!

I have several different sets of gel cups and materials that are expired.  Is there any point in me keeping them?  I have 0.8% TAE exp. 10/2017, Foodborne pathogen lab exp. 3/2018 and Foodborne pathogen lab exp. 3/2019.  They have been refrigerated.



If the GelCups were stored in the fridge, the seal is intact, and the gel cubes look moist, you may use them by adding 1 microliter of GelGreen DNA stain. Melt the agarose in the GelCup as usual, and then add 1 microliter of the GelGreen DNA stain to each gel cup, mix by swirling the melted agarose and then pour the gel onto the MiniOne tray. Your gel will be as good as fresh one! Keep a vial of GelGreen DNA stain on hand. When stored at room temperature and kept from exposure to light, it is stable for at least two years! Just be sure to label the GelCup with the name of the lab, so cups from different labs don’t get mixed up!

One tube of M3113 has 50 microliters, which can make 50 MiniOne gels, and costs only $30! Oh, and speaking of going green, don’t forget that our GelCups are recyclable! 

TBE Buffer

TBE buffer (both the concentrate and the diluted 1X TBE buffer) are stable, and can be stored at room temperature.

DNA Samples

DNA samples are more stable than you think! If you do not plan to use them within a month, we suggest storing them in the freezer.  If you plan to use them within this school year, then storing them in the refrigerator is fine.  DNA just does not like too many cycles of freeze and thaw– they can break down if subjected to too many cycles of freezing and thawing.

If your DNA sample has been in the fridge for a while and you are not sure about its quality, run a gel to check the band pattern. If they are still good, then store them in a freezer for the next school year.  If the DNA has already degraded, throw them away.

Here are the steps you can take to save some money and ensure a successful experience with your students in 2020:

1. Get a little vial of GelGreen to add to your GelCups and save money and get the peace of mind that your remaining GelCups will still be good to use.

2. Check your DNA samples and store them accordingly based on when you plan to use them again.

3. If you need to purchase the MiniLabs now but won’t be using them until later in the school year, give us a call to schedule delivery or get a coupon good for a year.

We hope these tips help you save money, reagents, and waste! Thanks for your hard work this year. Have a wonderful summer!