What is the Comet assay?
Comet assay is a procedure used to test the purity of a sample. A comet assay tests if there are any impurities present in the sample. If there are no impurities then it means that the sample contains only natural compounds or water. If there are impurities then it means that the sample contains some other substance such as chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals etc.
Why do we need to test for contaminants?
The sample can be a group of cells from an organism. It can also be a mixture of different chemicals, minerals or any other type of substance. The main reason to do a test such as the comet assay is to find out if it contains any impurities. Impurities can be dangerous for human health. It can also be dangerous for the environment. They can cause adverse affects. This is why it is important to know what the results are. In this way you can take any precautions necessary if there are any impurities present.
What is the procedure of a comet assay test?
The sample is prepared. It is then placed into a petri dish. The petri is then placed on a machine that spins it very fast. This causes the cells or the chemicals in the sample to break up. The spinning also causes the contents to be stretched out. It then causes them to form a line. The line is then placed under a microscope that has been designed especially for this purpose. Any impurities will show up as breaks in the lines. They will look like a comet with a burned out area in the middle. This is where the name of the test comes from. The breaks in the lines can be seen under a microscope. These breaks are caused by impurities that are present in the sample.
What are the types of tests carried out?
Sources & references used in this article:
- The comet assay: a comprehensive review (DW Fairbairn, PL Olive, KL O’Neill – Mutation Research/Reviews in Genetic …, 1995 – Elsevier)
- The comet assay: topical issues (AR Collins, AA Oscoz, G Brunborg, I Gaivao… – …, 2008 – academic.oup.com)
- The comet assay for DNA damage and repair (AR Collins – Molecular biotechnology, 2004 – Springer)
- Recommendations for conducting the in vivo alkaline Comet assay (A Hartmann, E Agurell, C Beevers… – …, 2003 – academic.oup.com)
- The comet assay: mechanisms and technical considerations (M Klaude, S Eriksson, J Nygren, G Ahnström – Mutation Research/DNA …, 1996 – Elsevier)