Biochemicals and Reagents
Biochemicals and Reagents refer to any chemical substance which can be found in living organisms and applied in fundamental life science research respectively. Examples of biochemical reagents include antibiotics, growth medium, inhibitors, and staining reagents. These biochemicals and reagents are used in multiple techniques in life sciences research and are vital accessories in the lab.
During the process of protein extraction, cells are lysed, and endogenous proteases are released which break down and degrade the cell proteins. As a result, the yield of proteins at the end of the extraction process will be negatively affected. Therefore it is important to introduce protease inhibitors within the cell lysates to preserve the protein content. There are multiple groups of protease; the most characterized protease groups include serine protease, cysteine protease, aspartic protease, and metalloprotease. For this reason, protease inhibitor cocktails that include a broad spectrum of inhibitors are needed to target multiple protease groups to ensure complete inhibition of protease activity.
During RNA isolation and purification RNase can be co-purified with RNA, and this can threaten the fate of RNA, lowering the overall yield. The RNA sample can also be contaminated with RNase by lab apparatus such as test tubes, pipette tips, and other reagents. The RNase family contain several groups of RNase, and therefore it is important that the RNase inhibitors that are used in RNA isolation can inhibit the activity of multiple types of RNase. The RNase inhibitors form complexes with RNases to prevent them interacting with their substrate RNA.
Lysogeny broth, which is also known as Luria broth, Lennox broth, or Luria-Bertani medium, is growth medium rich in nutrients that support the growth of bacteria, especially Escherichia coli. The applications of lysogeny broth in life science research are broad due to its requirement for the production of plasmids and recombinant proteins. Although the compositions of lysogeny broth are always slightly different between labs and companies, generally they share some common vitamins, peptides, trace elements, and minerals. As lysogeny broth is prepared in liquid form, the addition of agar powder is necessary for the formation of gel required for growing bacteria.
Staining reagents are another commonly used biochemical reagent for characterizing and identifying specific features of cells. Some commonly used staining reagents include crystal violet, hematoxylin, and eosin. Crystal violet is used for gram staining which can help classify bacteria into their two main groups (Gram-positive and Gram-negative). Gram-positive bacteria contain peptidoglycan in their cell wall, which can hold the crystal violet dye and therefore become stained. Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E), which can stain cell nuclei and cytoplasm respectively are used in H&E staining; a gold standard in histology (or histopathology) for examining tissue samples from patients or sample organisms.
Antibiotics refer to any agents that can kill bacteria or inhibit their growth. Apart from medical uses, the application of antibiotics is broad. For example, antibiotics can be used to select for cells that have picked up a recombinant plasmid DNA containing an antibiotic resistance gene. Although antibiotics are known to originate from natural products, modern antibiotics are mostly synthetic.