As a gelling agent, agarose is used:
- To separate nucleic acids electrophoretically because its gels have larger pore sizes than polyacrylamide gels at low concentrations. Unlike polyacrylamide, the consistency of the gels is more solid (but also less elastic)
- To demonstrate cross reaction in IEP (Immuno electrophoresis) and Ouchterlony (double diffusion) plates in which antibody-antigen precipitin lines are studied
- To make gel plates or overlays for cells in tissue culture
- To form a gel matrix (either beaded and/or crosslinked), which can be used in chromatographic separations.