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December 2015 Archive

Posted by Karen on December 11th, 2015  ⟩  0 comments

From time to time, we have received questions about whether knowing proteinase K activity (u/ml) was important or not. The scenario is often this: You’re using an old protocol that calls for 1µl of proteinase K, but is that really the right amount? After all, different companies sell proteinase K with different activities.

Since this topic has come up a few times, we wanted to straighten a few things out:

What is Enzyme Activity, Specific Activity and Enzyme Concentration? 

We have a great sheet on the topic, but I’ll pull out some important points.

  • Enzyme Activity: Enzyme activity is the number of moles or mg, etc. of substrate modified by an enzyme in a given time frame. For example, a single unit of enzyme X will digest 1 µmol of a substrate in 1 minute. However, reagent suppliers usually have to modify this definition proportionally for labeling ease; otherwise the numbers could get a little too tedious.
  • Specific Activity: Specific activity is related to enzyme purity. It is the amount of substrate modified by a particular quantity of protein in an enzyme preparation per unit of time. The higher the enzyme purity, the higher the measured value of specific activity.
  • Enzyme Concentration: Your enzyme concentration is simply the number of units of activity per volume.

Putting it together: 

Let’s say, hypothetically, you’re instructed to add 1µl of an enzyme. If your concentration, in terms of units, is 20 U/µl, then by adding 1µl, you’re working with 20 units. Yes, it seems like I’m pointing out the obvious, but that’s because considering these things are not always so obvious.

Now you need to run this experiment again but are out of your reagent. So you borrow more from another lab, and it’s a different brand with, perhaps, a different concentration. If that reagent you’re borrowing has a concentration of 5 U/µl, then when you add 1 µl, you won’t be adding the same amount – you’re now working with only 5 units.

Evaluating Proteinase K

If you’re working with a 20 mg/ml stock solution of proteinase K, you still want to evaluate the product for activity. For example, using proteinase K with an activity of ≥30 U/mg means you will have 600 units/ml. However if you’re using proteinase K with an activity of ≥20 U/mg, then you will have 400 units/ml.

Unfortunately, following a protocol isn’t as easy as following a Hamburger Helper recipe. Instead, you have to remember to question yourself when doing a certain procedure if even a very slight variable is introduced.

              Karen Martin
GoldBio Marketing Coordinator

"To understand the universe is to understand math." My 8th grade
math teacher's quote meant nothing to me at the time. Then came
college, and the revelation that the adults in my past were right all
along. But since math feels less tangible, I fell for biology and have
found pure happiness behind my desk at GoldBio, learning, writing
and loving everything science. 

Category Code: 79108 88253 79107 79103 88251

Posted by Karen on December 22nd, 2015  ⟩  0 comments

In an effort to make our site even more user friendly, we gathered your feedback and took action. Our biggest, and most helpful changes have included lengthening the search bar, and redesigning the green navigation ribbon. 

Because navigating through a changed website, or new website (if this is your first visit) can sometimes be a challenge, we put together a quick tutorial that first highlights the recent changes to our site, and then expands by taking you through some general navigation tips.

Search Bar (the easiest way to browse our site):

Navigation hasn’t really changed that much, especially if you’re used to the search bar. It’s still in the same place and works just as well, if not better. You can still search for products on our site using its name, catalog number or CAS number.

Now, one search bar trick you might not be familiar with is searching for related items or documents. For example, if you search for IPTG, you’ll see the most relevant products populate, but if you look closely, you’ll see a new set of tabs on the page for related products, documents, videos and blogs. Click on any of those categories and pull up even more resources.

GoldBio Website Navigation - Related Content, GoldBio Videos, GoldBio Protocols, GoldBio Blogs

GoldBio Website Navigation - IPTG - Related Videos - GoldBio Search Bar

Products A-Z (New Feature for navigation ease):

This is a new feature brought about as a result of customer feedback. Either hover your arrow over this section or click directly on it. Then scroll through products in alphabetical order.

Shop By Category (An artifact of the old ways):

If you really liked our old categories on the ribbon, or want a way to search for products based on our printed catalogs, we have preserved this feature in the Shop By Category section. Like the other ribbon categories, just hover your arrow over this section and then choose which category you’d like to shop by. Each category is broken down further into sub categories and so on.

Featured Products (Shop for vital research tools in aphabetical order):

We created this category so you can quickly find some must haves for the lab. Within this category, you’ll find featured antibiotics, DNA and protein ladders, buffers and more. It becomes even more convenient when using the “Quick Order” button. Just scroll through, and add much needed products to your shopping cart.

The Last 3 Tabs (Highlighting top research products):

The last three tabs highlight some of the most important products or product lines. These tabs will not be static on our site, so be prepared to see new products show up. This is all in an effort to enhance your shopping experience.

Navigation Odds and Ends:

Rather than focus solely on what has changed on our site, it’s worth mentioning some other site features to help your GoldBio experience. We would love your feedback on this too. If you browse through this section and think something is just not quite easy to use or needs changed, let us know, and we will take it under consideration.

The first thing to discuss is the top, gray ribbon. Some of it is intuitive, but some of it might not be. Within the About Us section, you’ll find information about the company, careers and our sales team. Under Global Distributors, you will find a list of worldwide GoldBio distributors, which is useful if you do not reside in the US. The Special Offers section will always show off any promoted products or sales. But if you hover over it, sometimes you will see other offer pages revealed. Lastly, the Reference Library is an abridged section showing a small sample of where our products have been published.

Next, it’s worth taking a look at the bottom fold of the page. Beneath the scrolling banner is a place that highlights Latest Videos, Latest Articles and our Duchefa Direct site (plant research products). When it comes to the articles and videos (and I mention this tip because it wasn’t so evident for me when I first joined the team), click the orange “View More” and “View All” buttons to see all of our content. 

As for the Duchefa Direct page, we carry a variety of Duchefa products on our main GoldBio website, but the Duchefa Direct site is set up for you to browse an even larger inventory of Duchefa products.

GoldBio Website - Browse blogs, videos, duchefa products

So that’s it. The changes aren’t really that bad. In time, there will be more, but we’ll keep you posted when they happen.

Please be sure to leave us any feedback you have about the site. Either comment, or email us directly and give us your thoughts. 

PS. A big thanks goes out to Chris Menne on our team for working hard on organizing this updated!

              Karen Martin
GoldBio Marketing Coordinator

"To understand the universe is to understand math." My 8th grade
math teacher's quote meant nothing to me at the time. Then came
college, and the revelation that the adults in my past were right all
along. But since math feels less tangible, I fell for biology and have
found pure happiness behind my desk at GoldBio, learning, writing
and loving everything science. 

Category Code: 88261

Posted by Karen on December 2nd, 2015  ⟩  1 comments

Major works of science during the 19th and 20th centuries are now yours to own in hand-crafted books literally fit for a Queen!

Computing Machinery & Intelligence - A Near Fragment of Scientific History in Your Hands with this Kickstarter

What happens to you when you visit an old library? Does the aroma of aged books seduce your senses? Do you suddenly find your fingertips gently brushing against faded buckram spines and your eyes wild with wonder? Maybe a similar sensation overcomes you while you peruse relics within the marble halls of an old museum.

For anyone in the sciences, chipped mosaics, cracked vases and decaying tapestries are still wondrous, but there are objects less obvious to the general public that would enliven various researchers: an antique microscope, a pencil held by Albert Einstein, a first edition copy “Gray’s Anatomy...” If only you had just one piece for your own collection – a fragment of history in your hands.

Most of us will never have anything quite so sacred in our lab or office – not even close. But for those of you who thought these mementos were out of reach for you or for a friend, there might be an interesting alternative to consider.

The Scientific Publishing Company, based in Melbourne, Australia, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign that will support their mission to produce a variety of hand-crafted reproductions of some of the most significant scientific works.

Currently, the items backers can choose from are:

1.Watson & Crick’s “A Structure of DNA”

2.Einstein’s “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” and “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon its Energy Content?”

3.Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”

4.Mendel’s “Experiments in Plant Hybridization”

5.Hubble’s “A Spiral Nebula as a Stellar System

Computing Machinery & Intelligence by Alan Turing: A Near Fragment of Scientific History in Your Hands with this Kickstarter

They aren’t first edition prints, but according to TSPC’s editor Bethany Patch, the design, quality and visual appeal might make them a worthy gift to a colleague, or worthy of your personal collection.

“We wanted to create a product that people would be proud to own, not just for its content, but also for its aesthetic,” Patch said.

The company’s press release explained that these pieces offer scientists and enthusiasts a collectible and more accessible item. Furthermore, the company’s administrator, Luke Price, explained that the way these works have been kept in universities does not do them justice. Instead, TSPC’s aim is to reproduce these historic publications with superior care and quality, and make them easily available.

“Our vellum products are designed to be the definitive versions, to further this aim, we have partnered with the same vellum manufacturer who prints the laws for the Britain and has done work for [Her Royal Majesty] Queen Elizabeth,” Price said.

Essentially, TSPC has created an opportunity for anyone to nearly have and hold an important piece of scientific history, bound in material literally fit for a queen, and hopefully just in time for the holidays.

Of course, you might be asking yourself, “Why go through all the trouble? Why not settle for a nice paperback copy that might be less costly?” But if you cherish these publications and care about quality, Price emphasizes that TSPC is offering a selection that is complementary to each other and of undoubtedly superior artistry.

The craftsmanship of these publications is something TSPC takes very seriously. Their Kickstarter offers two versions: paper and vellum (vellum and parchment). The paper version is archival quality, acid and chlorine free paper. The vellum and parchment version, which has a significantly higher price, is made from cleaned, bleached calfskin vellum, hand-selected from British cattle and parchment sourced from free range New Zealand sheep (this is the version fit for royalty).

“We wanted to provide a definitive version of the documents, something that is going to last as long as the theories outlined in the paper, or hopefully in “Special Relativity[’s]” case, outlive them,” Price explained. “The price is very high, but unfortunately when you are dealing with essentially a mediaeval production process, it’s incredibly labor intensive, especially when you have to cut and set the individual blocks.”

Price said his small team also adds immensely to this project and its quality. TSPC currently consists of four dedicated people: Luke Price, the company’s administrator; Emma Shaw, the company’s scientific consultant; Adele Cochrane, their creative director; and Bethany Patch, TSPC’s editor.

“The team is amazing… Emma has a background in science communication and is enthusiastic about bringing an understanding of science to the wider population,” Price said. “Adele, the youngest of the team, oversees creative direction and is a fantastic photographer. Bethany, the editor, writes the press releases, fixes all our spelling mistakes and brings a formidable knowledge of print production. I keep the project on track and handle IT.”

Already, Price said that there has been a decent amount of demand for their mission, and social media feedback, for the most part, has been very positive. Of course, their objective has been met with some criticism as well.

“I’d say that the feedback has overall been very positive, we’ve even gotten a couple of interview requests!” Price said. “I posted on the Philosophy of Science SubReddit which had some people take umbrage to the whole concept… someone was very annoyed that we weren’t using the exact copies that had been sent for peer review; I’m not sure how they expected a tiny startup in Melbourne to source those precise documents.”

Other skeptics online have questioned the necessity for printed reproductions when they can be found online; Shaw argues that something special to an individual or community creates the demand for tangibility.

“I read voraciously online and on my e-reader but own all of my favorite books in print, both because I will re-read them and because I feel they make up a part of who I am,” Shaw said. “So this project really spoke to me on those two levels, as I’m sure, like many other people, I knew of these works and how important they have been in the course of scientific history, but had not read all of them in full.”

If you already have someone in mind who you know would appreciate having one of these quality publications for his or her lab, then you need to be aware of the realities of a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarters have a financial goal and a deadline to be met. Anyone can contribute money to back the campaign, which is often rewarded by some kind of incentive. In the case of TSPC, you can simply back their project with a small amount, or pledge a higher amount in order to receive one of the printed publications.

A Kickstarter campaign’s financial goal is usually based on an amount needed to execute the project or some part of a project, and once the deadline is reached, the Kickstarter ends. If a Kickstarter is not fully funded, or if the project never fully reaches completion, backers run the risk of not obtaining any incentive. But Price can assure TSPC backers that there is no risk.

“If we make our target, we receive the money from Kickstarter directly,” Price said. “… If we do not make our goal, we have enough cash to print a run of one paper; we will use the popularity of the Kickstarter papers to determine which one this will be.”

Another thing to bear in mind is that TSPC is based in Australia. If you reside there and wish to back this campaign, you run almost no risk of not receiving a product before the holidays. However, if you live in the United States and are considering this as a gift option, you might just miss the deadline. Keep in mind that the campaign ends on December 15th. Printing is expected to begin on December 16th or 17th and shipping to the US or Europe is estimated to take about 3-10 business days to either place.

“We are confident that we will be able to ship well before Christmas; normally we would be more than confident that people would receive them on time. However, with a background in logistics, I know that just before the Christmas period stretches postal systems to their limit. So we wanted to prepare people that their gift may arrive a few days afterwards,” Price said. “We intend to send everyone an email with a description of the product so that they have something to give to their loved ones to tide them over until our product arrives.”

When you visit TSPC’s Kickstarter campaign, you are given the option to simply back the project with a smaller pledge of support or opt to back one of the printed publications. And, according to Price, even if you’re not interested in the products right now, TSPC has some other unique projects in mind for the future, making it worthwhile to follow them on Facebook.

The Scientific Publishing Company: A Near Fragment of Scientific History in Your Hands with this Kickstarter

  “This is a great way to support science, especially for someone starting off in the field,” Price said. “We have had the prototype sitting out in our house for the past few weeks, and it’s been a great conversation starter, even with people that didn’t realize that we were the ones producing it.”

Visit The Scientific Publishing Company’s Kickstarter page or Facebook page and get inspired.

All images produced and generously provided by the Scientific Publishing Company

              Karen Martin
GoldBio Marketing Coordinator

"To understand the universe is to understand math." My 8th grade
math teacher's quote meant nothing to me at the time. Then came
college, and the revelation that the adults in my past were right all
along. But since math feels less tangible, I fell for biology and have
found pure happiness behind my desk at GoldBio, learning, writing
and loving everything science. 

Category Code: 79101 79106