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Frequently Asked Questions...

How do I know when to use water vs. PBS as a solvent for diluting a concentrated reagent?

I want to dilute certain stock reagents but I do not know when to use water or phosphate buffered saline (1X PBS) as my solvent. For example:

bovine serum albumin

For each of these, use water or PBS? Is there a general rule I can follow to decide which solvent to use?

Best Answer...


It really makes little difference, and depends pretty much entirely on how you plan to use the final solution. If you will be using it with intact cells of any sort, then you should use PBS which will be isotonic with the mammalian cells. If you are using it for a standard curve, e.g., BSA, then you can certainly use water. But in that case, the unknowns should probably best be made in water also. Triton can always be made in water because it is generally used to rupture or lyse cells, so keeping the solution isotonic is meaningless. Hope this helps.