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September 21, 2015

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | SCI-NEWS 18

Craft reagents becoming a booming scientific business

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Tired of dealing with the large chemical companies for their reagents and supplies, many research scientists are turning towards small, local start-ups. “It’s a great time to be in the craft reagent business,” said Moses Jackson, co-founder and current reagentmaster at the My First Chemistry Set Distillery in Brooklyn New York. “Many labs, especially those at Universities, view us as having a much higher quality than the big brand chemical makers like Sigma-Aldrich or Fisher.”

And business is booming. The beginning of the Fall Semester has been an especially busy time for the My First Chemistry Set Distillery. Five cases of their Mutant Tadpole, Melting Heart ACS Reagent Grade 37% Formaldehyde are being packed up to ship to Cornell University. Ten sets of their Calibration Station #9 pH buffer solutions are on their way to NYU. And, several liters of their flagship reagent, Uncle Jimmy’s Disgestif ACS Reagent Grade Acetone are being distilled in large vats to be bottled later this month.

In the past two years, interest in these so-called microprocessories has skyrocketed as more and more young scientists are shunning large chemical producing corporations in favor of the more artisan and often local companies. This has lead to a fourfold increase in craft reagent companies including Mr. Wizard’s Lab Chemical Depot in San Diego, Not Yet Hazardous Waste Reagenterie in Denver, and MSDS4EVAH Chemical Co. in Grand Rapids.

Scientists that have switched to these artisan chemicals enjoy supporting a small business, the higher quality chemicals, and the interesting bottle labels. “I’ve noticed much less contamination ever since I started using MSDS4EVAH’s Burn Your Socks Off Jalapeno Hydrochloric Acid for my acid washes,” says Janet Tremaine, lab manager at Michigan State University. “Plus, their Bill Nye’s Drink ‘n Die Ethidium Bromide is deliciously good at staining agarose gels.”

Business is so good that Jackson of My First Chemistry Set has thought about expanding his business to include craft nucleotides and craft experimental organisms. “We’re pretty excited about our upcoming nucleotide series,” explains Jackson. “It’s based off of an old recipe found stuffed away in a file drawer in Hargobind Khorana’s old lab.”


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