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The Role of Biological Buffers for pH Control in Tissue Culture

By Emma Foster on Fri 24 April 2020

Learn more about biological buffers and how they help to control pH within tissue culture media.

Biological Buffers and pH ControlIn tissue culture, media must have a synthetic mixture of inorganic salts which are also known as ‘physiological’ or balanced salt solution. These mixtures are used to maintain proper pH, ideal osmotic pressure and provide a source of energy. Animal cell growth in a complete tissue culture medium is typically optimal when the buffer is at a specific range of 7.2 – 7.4. The pKa of the buffers that are chosen needs to be as close as possible the pH required by the medium.

Sodium bicarbonate is the most commonly used buffer in tissue culture media but there are some disadvantages to using this:

  1. The pKa of sodium bicarbonate is 6.3 at 37 degrees Celsius which would result in suboptimal buffering throughout the balanced salt solution pH range

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