Ultra-sensitive silver protein stains for monochromatic detection of proteins in 1D or 2D polyacrylamide gels with metallic silver ions (Ag). If mass spectrometry is the intended downstream application, choose our silver stain kit optimized for peptide recovery after in-gel typsin digestion for mass spectrometry.

Select the silver protein gel stain that is right for your needs

  Pierce™ Silver Stain for Mass Spec Pierce™ Silver Stain Kit SilverXpress® Silver Staining Kit
Components (steps) 6 (17) 4 (15) 5 (13)
1 hr 13 min 2 hr 25 min 2 hr
Limit of
0.25 ng 0.25 ng 0.86 ng
Mass spec.
Yes Yes Yes
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*The number of steps includes multiple gel washes, staining steps, and solution changes. Times include gel wash steps and all steps required for best sensitivity in a 1 mm thick mini-gel.

Thermo Scientific Pierce™ Silver Stain for Mass Spectrometry is a complete kit for the rapid and sensitive silver staining of proteins in polyacrylamide gels and the efficient destaining of excised gel pieces for mass spectrometry analysis.

This silver staining kit for mass spectrometry (MS) bundles components of the high-performance Pierce™ Silver Stain Kit with reagents optimized to destain spots for subsequent in-gel tryptic digestion to recover peptide fragments for proteomics analysis. The resulting MS-compatible product and protocol deliver outstanding sensitivity and help maintain favorable conditions for high-yield recovery and identification (sequence coverage) of proteins by mass spectrometry.

Silver staining of 2D gels is an important intermediate step in a set of procedures that leads to identification of specific proteins in the proteome by mass fingerprinting methods. The Pierce™ Silver Stain protocol provides, flexibility, reliability, and robustness for applications such as MALDI-MS.


  • Sensitivity—detect proteins at sub-nanogram level
  • Clear background—our silver staining kits are designed to produce intensely-stained protein gels with very low background color, shading, or anomalies
  • Robust performance—reagents and protocols are formulated to help yield excellent staining results across wide-ranging differences in user technique
  • Rapid, flexible protocol—only 1–1.5 hours are required to complete the procedure
  • Gel compatible—staining performance is very good with a variety of commercial precast mini-gels and SDS-PAGE buffer-systems
  • Workflow compatible—our mild chemical formulations help ensure compatibility with mass spectrometry, sequencing, and other downstream procedures that depend on destaining and protein recovery


The easy to perform protocol takes about 1hr. Additionally, the protocol is flexible–fix gel for 15 to 30 minutes or overnight without any affect on staining performance; stain for 1 to 30 minutes (typically 2 to 3 minutes).



The easy to perform protocol takes about 1hr. Additionally, the protocol is flexible–fix gel for 15 to 30 minutes or overnight without any affect on staining performance; stain for 1 to 30 minutes (typically 2 to 3 minutes).


The Thermo Scientific Pierce Silver Stain Kit is a rapid, ultra-sensitive and versatile silver stain system for protein detection in polyacrylamide gels, enabling consistent and reliable results with many 1D and 2D gel types. The Pierce Silver Stain Kit is a metallic silver (Ag) protein stain that yields a remarkably clear and uniform gel background while enabling consistent, high-sensitivity staining results.


The protocol has been optimized for flexibility by allowing short or overnight gel fixation and staining steps without affecting staining performance (sensitivity or clarity). A short (one-minute) sensitization step, performed after gel fixation, enables results that are free of the characteristically dark or blotchy backgrounds often seen with homemade or other commercially available silver stains. This feature is beneficial when performing densitometric analysis of silver stained gels.



In standard mini gels, proteins are detectable at greater than 0.25 ng per band or spot.


The SilverXpress® Silver Staining Kit is a highly sensitive silver staining kit providing nanogram-level sensitivity with minimal background. The SilverXpress® Silver Staining Kit uses ammoniacal silver chemistry and glutaraldehyde sensitization to produce a highly sensitive silver stain, capable of detecting much lower levels of protein than standard Coomassie® or Colloidal Blue techniques. Clear background makes sample identification unambiguous and helps provide publication-quality gels.


The easy-to-follow protocol requires less total time than standard Coomassie® staining and is typically complete in a little over 1 hour.


Easily detect protein in nanogram levels. 0.86 ng of BSA is detected on a 1.0 mm Novex 4–20% Tris-Glycine gel.

DNA staining

The SilverXpress® kit may also be used for detecting nanogram concentrations of DNA that cannot be detected using ethidium bromide. It is five-times more sensitive than ethidium bromide, detecting as little as <0.5 ng of 50 bp DNA.

See Coomassie dye-based stains