PBS is the acronym for phosphate buffered saline. Phosphate buffer is one of the most common buffers used in biological research. The phosphate serves as a buffer to keep the pH constant, while the saline is referencing the osmolarity. Additional ions such as Ca2+ or Mg2+ , energy sources like glucose, or chelators such as EDTA can be added based on the specific needs of the experiment.
There are many different formulations of PBS, based on the cell type and needs. The most common, from Cold Spring Harbor is shown below, providing a pH of 7.4 with an osmolarity to normal human cells.
ABOUT TIM BUSHNELL, PHD
Tim Bushnell holds a PhD in Biology from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a co-founder of—and didactic mind behind—ExCyte, the world’s leading flow cytometry training company, which organization boasts a veritable library of in-the-lab resources on sequencing, microscopy, and related topics in the life sciences.More Written by Tim Bushnell, PhD