Low yields of plasmid DNA can be caused by a number of different factors. The most common causes for low yield are poor culturing conditions and plasmid propagation, excessive amounts of starting material resulting in insufficient bacterial cell lysis and column overloading. When working with the anion-exchange based QIAGEN Plasmid Purification Kits, extra care is required during the isopropanol precipitation step, as the glassy DNA pellet may be difficult to see, and tends to be only loosely attached to the side of the tube.
We strongly recommend to review the information provided on our Plasmid Resource Page in the section 'Optimal results with QIAGEN plasmid kits', as it provides useful background information on growing bacterial cultures and general considerations for optimal results. It is also necessary to follow the instructions in the relevant protocols precisely to ensure the best plasmid yield and quality.
To determine at what stage of the procedure any problem occurred, save fractions from different steps of the purification procedure, and analyze by agarose gel electrophoresis. For a detailed description on how to run and interpret an analytical gel, please see Appendix A in the QIAGEN Plasmid Purification Handbook: "Agarose Gel Analysis of the Purification Procedure", or visit the QIAGEN Plasmid Resource Center.