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β-Mercaptoethanol can act as an enzyme reactivator in systems necessitating reduction for activation, and has been commonly used to reduce disulfide bonds in order to separate protein subunits for use in electrophoresis. This product can also be used to form o-Phthalaldehyde-beta-mercaptoethanol (OPAME), a fluorogenic reagent shown to detect amino acids based on its reaction with primary amines. More recently OPAME has been used to distinguish between ssDNA/dsDNA and even single base mismatches in the hybridization of DNA. It is widely used for retarding oxidation of biological compounds in solution.
Margaret L. Heidrick..; Linda C. Hendricks.; David E. Cook. Effect of dietary 2-mercaptoethanol on the life span, immune system, tumor incidence and lipid peroxidation damage in spleen lymphocytes of aging BC3F1 mice. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. 1984, 27 (3),341-358 .
B. Tasheva.; G. Dessev. Artifacts in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis due to 2-mercaptoethanol.Anal. Biochem. 1983, 129 (1),98-102 .
Hazard Statements: H227-H301-H310-H315-H318-H317-H335
Combustible liquid. Toxic if swallowed. Fatal in contact with skin. Causes skin irritation. Causes serious eye damage. May cause an allergic skin reaction. May cause respiratory irritation.
Precautionary Statements: P210u-P261-P301+P310a-P305+P351+P338-P405-P501a
Avoid breathing dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray. IF SWALLOWED: IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing. Store locked up. Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local/regional/national/international regulations.