Biological Buffers & Biological Reagents
At ReAgent, we manufacture biological reagents for use in life science laboratories and in IVD (in vitro diagnostics) kits. Products we supply include biological buffers for medical devices that are used in cancer diagnoses, test kits, and DNA sample preparation.
All of our buffers and reagents are manufactured using chemicals that are approved for their intended use, and full change control and notification processes are in place. All our biological buffers are also subject to extensive quality checks.
Additionally, we are able to pack your buffers and reagents in sterile, DNAse and RNAse-free packaging, and manufacture products in ISO Class 7 cleanroom conditions. Products are routinely filtered to 0.2µ during the packing process. We are also able to manufacture and pack biological buffers and biological reagents that have a short shelf-life as we have both cold and frozen storage capabilities. That means we can store and transport your products at the specified temperature to ensure your products don’t degrade during storage or delivery.
We can also work with you to create a new formulation for a biological buffer, or we can support you in making changes to existing formulations. Whatever your unique requirements, you can feel confident that you will receive a high-quality product and outstanding customer service from an expert biological buffer manufacturer.
What Is A Buffer In Biology?
A biological buffer is a solution that maintains a constant and consistent pH level. Biological buffer solutions contain either a weak base and its salt or a weak acid and its salt, and they neutralise the effect of hydrogen ions. This is what makes a biological buffer resistant to changes in pH.
How Do Buffers Work in Biology?
Buffering systems are solutions used in biology to maintain a stable pH. They work by neutralising solutions of acids and bases, capable of resisting pH change even when small quantities of acids and bases are added. They’re able to do this because of their composition, which includes a weak conjugate acid-base pair.
The conjugate acid and conjugate base exist in appreciable amounts at equilibrium, making them effective at neutralising small amounts of H+ (acid) and OH- (base) ions (hydrogen ions).
In this way, buffers are crucial to a range of biological practices, like cell culture, as they’re able to maintain an ideal environment for organisms and support the proper functioning of cellular systems. For example, TE buffer solution is crucial in molecular biology, where it prevents DNA and RNA from degrading.
Examples of Biological Buffers
There is a wide range of biological buffers that are manufactured today. Different buffers will have a slightly different pH range, which is the range in which they’re able to continue resisting pH changes.
For example, while MES buffer has a useful pH range between 5.5–6.7, HEPES buffer ranges between 6.8–8.2. Some buffers have much more basic pH ranges, like CABS buffer, which is useful between 10.0–11.4.
There are a total of twenty Good’s buffers. These were prepared and tested by Norman Good and his team between 1966 and 1980, and provided biologists with access to safe and effective buffer systems. The properties that unite all Good’s buffers include:
- High solubility in water, minimal solubility in organic solvents
- Low level of permeability to cell membranes
- Stable and consistent dissociation constants
- Low metal chelating capability
- High chemical stability
- Not toxic towards cells
- Not affected by ionic composition or temperature
- Not very absorptive of UV spectra
We can manufacture and supply a range of the twenty Good’s buffering agents used for biochemical and biological research. Some of the Good’s buffers we supply include:
Bis-tris, otherwise known as bis-Tris methane, is a protein and nucleic acid buffer used in molecular biology and biochemistry. It is best for a pH range of 5.8-7.2 and acts as a substitute for cacodylate, a highly toxic buffer.
Bis-tris is a popular zwitterionic biological buffer solution that can be used:
- As a buffer for anion exchange chromatography
- In electrophoresis as either a running buffer, gel buffer, or sample buffer
HEPES (4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid) is a zwitterionic sulphonic acid buffer, and is one of the twenty Good’s buffers. HEPES is commonly used in cell culture, and is best suited for microbiology, histology, and diagnostic laboratory procedures.
While HEPES buffer is better than bicarbonate buffers at maintaining the physiological pH of cells, it has one big drawback: it produces hydrogen peroxide when exposed to light. To mitigate risks to cells, HEPES buffer solution must be stored in darkness.
PIPES (piperazine-N,N′-bis(2-ethanesulfonic acid)) is another of the Good’s buffers and is typically used in biochemistry, specifically for:
- Cell culture
- Diagnostic tests
- Protein purification
- Electron microscopy study
Phosphate-Buffered Saline (PBS)
Phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) is a water-based salt solution frequently used in biological research for two reasons. Firstly, this buffer helps to sustain a constant pH, and secondly, the ion concentrations match the human body. This makes it well suited for use in biological research.
As an added-value service from ReAgent, we are able to have PBS sterilised by gamma radiation post-packing. This extends the shelf-life of the buffer and provides a better quality product.
Tris (tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane) is widely used in molecular biology and biochemistry. It has a pH range of between 7.1 and 9.1 at room temperature, which matches the physiological pH common to most living organisms.
This buffer solution is used during the pH-sensitive DNA extraction process, where it helps stabilise the pH over cell lysis and extraction.
Tris Hydrochloride (Tris HCl) Buffer
Tris HCl is used in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical production and is suitable for cell culture. It is very water-soluble and is useful in the 7.0-9.0 pH range.
The difference between tris buffer and tris HCl buffer is that the former is basic while the latter is acidic. Tris HCl is basically a tris buffer solution that has had hydrochloric acid added to it.
ReAgent can manufacture a range of high-quality bioprocessing reagents and supply them in a variety of sizes up to 1,000 litres. They can be filled, packed into bioprocessing containers, and labelled ready for your use. We will work with you to create the formulation and solution that’s right for your unique bioprocessing needs.
Quality Assurance with ISO 13485 Accreditation for Medical Devices
ReAgent is accredited to the ISO 13485 Standard for Medical Devices, demonstrating that we adhere to the stringent requirements of a quality management system specific to the medical devices industry. We meet the current Medical Device Directives, regulations, and responsibilities, and are committed to the safety and quality of the biological reagents we supply for medical devices.
Our customers benefit from this accreditation with:
- Peace of mind that we have manufacturing processes and controls suitable for chemical products used in medical devices
- More time to focus on the bespoke biological reagent you need, rather than on systems and processes
- The ability to provide confidence and quality assurance to the end user
- The immediate understanding that ReAgent is a credible, trustworthy manufacturer of bespoke biological buffers
A Collaborative Approach
ReAgent is a customer-led business, and you’ll find that we can be flexible and adapt to meet your requirements, whatever your industry. This might mean developing new manufacturing techniques, investing in new equipment, or undertaking training. You may also need us to adopt industry-specific systems to meet required standards, which we are happy to do.
Whatever the requirement, we’ll work closely with you to supply the biological buffers and bioprocessing reagents you need, in the volume you need, at the time you need. Our expert technical team is also on-hand to provide their advice and expertise every step of the way. This collaborative approach and adaptability are just two of the reasons we have a strong reputation as a high-quality chemical and contract manufacturer in the UK.