Gel Documentation System

Gel documentation is the primary need of all laboratories where experiments related to molecular biology are performed. Researchers are readily choosing to integrate protein gel documentation systems in the lab to achieve the best results and this provides more in-depth information to get accurate results.

There are many advantages of using the digital gel imaging system. One of the major advantages is that it improves the accuracy of image analysis. As the accuracy of the image analysis increases, it provides far more in-depth information for the analysis. This helps in producing more accurate results, especially when your software is designed specifically for western blot analysis. 

Digital gel documentation system also provides a wider linear dynamic range than film. This helps to detect both bright and weak bands on the blot simultaneously. Digital gel doc system requires a single acquisition of data to produce quantitative rather than qualitative data.

Another crucial advantage of the digital gel imaging system is that it enables researchers to multiplex western blots switching from chemiluminescence to fluorescent detection. Fluorescent western blotting uses antibodies that are labeled with different fluorophores to define the protein targets. This provides detailed information from the sample material which in turn improves experimental reproducibility.

In addition to this digital gel documentation system has a more convenient workflow. It is easy to share data with others.

Overview of advantages of digital gel doc system:

  • More accurate image analysis
  • Provides far depth information on the sample data
  • Wider linear dynamic range
  • Saves time and reduced cost
  • Fewer harmful chemicals
  • Quantitative rather than qualitative data
  • Supports fluorescent detection for multiplexing and improved reproducibility
  • Workflow convenience
  • Promotes convenient data-sharing 

It is important to know the main features of gel documentation while choosing the gel documentation system. It is also important to know about its fundamentals.

Main features should be taken care of when choosing a protein gel documentation system

  • Sensitivity
  • Wider Dynamic range
  • Uniformity of illumination and detection
  • Types of detection supported
  • Ease of use
  • Size of instrument
  • Software alignment with best practices
  • Readily upgraded
  • Cost of ownership
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Sensitivity is the most important feature since there is the requirement for the detection of multiple western blot chemistries. The protein gel documentation system facilitates multiplex fluorescence detection and also supports chemiluminescent western blotting in the same platform. 

Most of the Chemiluminescent western blots are easily adapted to fluorescent detection which enhances the flexibility, workflow, and cost. So it is important to have a high sensitivity gel documentation system.

It is noticed that acquisition speed is often used as a proxy for sensitivity. It is better to choose the digital gel doc system to detect the signal regardless of acquisition time. In order to attain a speed of acquisition sometimes, manufacturers sacrifice ultimate sensitivity. It is also important to choose a system that can be easily upgradable. This helps researchers to explore the advantages of new fluorophores.

Uniformity of Illumination and detection 

Uniformity of illumination and detection is also the most crucial factor that has to be taken into consideration. The chances of getting errors are more when certain visual areas are brighter than others. 

In the case of western blot, it is required to be set up in such a way to compare protein expression in different lanes. It is crucial that while assessing several samples against a control run, the entire field of view must be uniform to get accurate results.

Ease of Use 

It is also important to choose a protein gel documentation system that can be used easily. An intuitive device produces consistent results for repeated experiments. Compact in size, automation in the tracking of image capture, editing, annotation, and analysis will make digital gel imaging systems fit more easily into existing workflows.

Size of the instrument 

It is important to choose the gel doc system that comes in a compact size that fits the lab workbench with automation and all necessary advanced features included in it.

Software Alignment with best practices 

Traditional software simply assigns values and most of the calculations work is left for the researchers. It is best to check the software packages and the extent to which it reduces the work of researchers with high quality and replicable data.

It is worth to spent time identifying the best protein gel documentation system that comprises many advantages that researchers can utilize. This helps in generating robust, reproducible, accurate data for the analysis.


The Gel documentation system is the basic requirement for every biotechnology lab. The digital gel doc system has more advantages over the traditional gel doc system. Before choosing a gel imager, consider the new features that are upgraded in the market and also check for the main features that are upgraded. Identifying the cost-effective gel doc system with the best features is crucial with the availability of different types of gel doc systems in the market.

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