Paper Adsorbents Remove Coomassie Blue from Gel Destain and Used Gel Stain in an Environment-Friendly Manner

  • Yaser Dorri
  • Biji T. KurienEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1853)


Coomassie Brilliant Blue (CBB), used to stain protein gels, is known to be toxic. Therefore, laboratories do not discard used CBB into the sink owing to the possibility of it contaminating drinking water supplies. We tested the ability of various paper adsorbents to adsorb CBB released from gels during destaining. The efficiency was as follows—Kimwipes > Teri towels > multifold towels > Whatman numbers 1 and 3 filter papers. Addition of three Kimwipes during destaining helped adsorb the dye released from a CBB-stained mini-gel. Stain removal with Kimwipes helps reduce destain use, organic waste accumulation, enable recycling of nonradioactive destaining solution and is 7.5-fold cheaper than an available method for CBB disposal. Next, we used Kimwipes to deplete the dye from a used CBB staining solution awaiting proper disposal by our Institutional Safety Office. Seventy five Kimwipes successfully helped remove the dye from a 0.05% CBB staining solution in 5–10 min. The blue Kimwipes did not release the CBB stain even when squeezed dry after incubation in various salts, water, or acid solutions for 5 weeks. The CBB removed thus can be simply disposed of as solid waste and will not leach out from solid landfills. Kimwipes, thus, enables CBB disposal in an environmentally friendly manner and allows for recycling of destaining solution.

Key words

SDS-PAGE Two-dimensional electrophoresis Coomassie Brilliant Blue Gel destaining Kimwipes Environment-friendly destaining 



This work was supported in part by an Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology grant to B.T.K. We thank Hal Scofield (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation [OMRF]) for his support of this work. B.T.K. first started using multifold paper towels during the early 1990s to remove CBB from gel destain in Hiroyuki Matsumoto’s laboratory. We also thank Justin Simmons, safety officer at OMRF, for his input regarding proper disposal of CBB in the institutional setting.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Diabetes and Endocrinology Section, Department of MedicineUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.Arthritis and Clinical ImmunologyOklahoma Medical Research Foundation, University of OklahomaOklahoma CityUSA
  3. 3.Section of Endocrinology and DiabetesUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  4. 4.Department of Veterans Affairs Medical CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  5. 5.Department of Arthritis and Clinical ImmunologyOklahoma CityUSA

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