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Jello electrophoresis fun!
Home jello electrophoresis kits let the user embed pictures, celebratory messages, color blends &c. into their jiggly jello treats
The seaweed-derived starch agarose is a staple in
it's used to make thin sheets of gel through which charged
molecules (e.g. pieces of DNA) can, by applying an electric
differential, be predictably separated for analysis. Funny
thing is -- as anyone who's used it knows -- agarose
and feel a lot like good old kitchen-made gelatin (jello).
So why not bring home that useful electrophoresis
in order to make jello (even) more fun? Kits could be
marketed to let you make pictures in your jello: a special
plastic dish is provided for gelling the sweet gelatin (with
a little salt added), with small slots on one side filled with
colorful, factory-premeasured mixtures of powdered, food-
dyes. After the jello sets, a little water is added to each
and the jello is covered with a little cold, very dilute
The dish is then sealed (for electrical safety around the
kiddies), plugged into an outlet, and left to subtly bubble
away for a while. The current separates out the mixed
according to their size/charge density, in a manner
to make a low-res picture in the finished jello. Pictures
include sailboats, frogs, &c. -- any simple image that
or it could be a custom message like 'Happy Birthday, Dad!'.
The kids learn a little science, the parents get to spend
quality mess time with them, and everyone gets a nice
at the end.
Printed Cakes [evildman, Oct 04 2004]
||Next up: home DNA tests on a bun.
||Another Winner one feels.
||Yes, great idea.
Some points would be that seawater would not be perfect (its not just a question of ionic strength, you need a buffer) but thats easy, just add some citric acid.
||Regarding the power supply safety, to avoid safety issues just use a standard 9V battery as your power supply. Connect a few in series and you have ampl power for what you want to do (with the advntage that the supply is more stable than wall outlet)
||I once had a similar idea for how to decorate cakes, but I was too lazy to ever try it. It goes something like as follows: inkjet printer dyes are non-toxic. If you take carrageenan (its just another seaweed derived startch) you can cast it into thin sheets, leave it to dry and you get a transparent sheet, almost exactly like the transparencies you use for presentations. Next step: print a nice pattern/text/image onto the carageenan transparency using a standard inkjet. Then take a cheesecake, put the transparency on top of it and leave it. the carageenan will swell into a thin, transparent (edible) jello layer and you will have a cheesecake with a nice decoration on top (admittedly a little blurred!)
||Actually they already have inkjet printers that let your print near photo quality icing sheets for cakes and such. See link for info.
||Thanks for the link evildman, just goes to show- nothing new under the sun...just as well I was too lazy to bother then!!
||Printed cakes may look neat but these days they're plastering high-res pictures all over everything - New York is full of 5-story computer-printed billboards, and buses covered with that awful semi-opaque ad-frosting - so it wouldn't really fill me with a sense of wonder. But jello electrophoresis sure would. Electrically charged croissant for you.
||Monday morning I'm gonna pitch this to a local maker of ionophoresors. I'm certain this would get the point across better than any Powerpoint presentation they could ever come up with.
||Is Jello made from gelatin (like jelly in the UK)? If
so, I'm not sure how it will take to being
||However, agar (of bacterial culture fame) is available
as a food-grade powder and is used as a jelly dessert,
especially in the east. Agarose (as used for
electrophoresis) is one of the two components of
agar, and is also edible.