When working in life science research, there are plenty of opportunities to come across products that, simply by their nature, are a risk for the researcher and/or the local environment. When studying the “green” effect, we keep it simple. Typically we look at two variables: the effect on the environment and the effect on the researcher’s health. Often times they are overlapping, but not always. For example, sometimes we look for ways to reduce the level of consumable consumption or we try to consider if an item can be reused. More important though is the negative impact some products, in particular reagents, can have on the health of living organisms. This is because in Life Science research, many commonly used chemicals can be highly toxic. A great example are DNA binding dyes: simply by attaching to DNA can cause mutational effects. Ethidium bromide (EtBr) is one of the best characterized DNA mutagens, it also happens to be the most popular dye used to stain DNA-contained gels in electrophoretic experiments. We are proud to offer a non-toxic and non-carcinogenic DNA stain, Midori Green. An additional benefit of this stain is that is can use blue LED illumination instead of harmful UV illumination. Another approach is to eliminate harmful chemicals associated with particular protocols. For example, our product AcquaStain is a Coomassie stain replacement that does not rely upon the harmful chemical methanol for staining protein PAGE gels. Instead it is a completely aqueous-based formulation which provides serious benefits to the protocol as well as easy disposal down the drain. Whether it be finding ways to reduce consumption of consumables or to find workarounds that benefit the health the bench-side worker, we strive to always keep an eye on the environmental impact of our products.
David Unger and Mike Mortillaro
Owners, Bulldog Bio, Inc.