HomeWebinarsGetting Your Buffers Right: How to Control the pH of Cell Culture Medium

Getting Your Buffers Right: How to Control the pH of Cell Culture Medium


What Does it Cover?

pH is a fundamental variable in culture media. It must be controlled by an appropriately formulated buffering regime because biological processes are exquisitely sensitive to acid-base chemistry. Although awareness of the importance of pH is fostered early in the training of researchers, there have been no consensus guidelines for best practice in managing pH in cell cultures. Moreover, reporting standards relating to pH are typically inadequate. Many laboratories adopt bespoke approaches to controlling pH, some of which inadvertently produce artifacts that increase noise, compromise reproducibility or lead to the misinterpretation of data. In this webinar, I will explain the principles of good practice in controlling the acid-base balance of culture media. I will highlight those combinations of buffers that can result in poor pH control, non-intuitive outcomes and erroneous inferences. To improve data reproducibility, my lab has proposed guidelines for controlling pH in culture systems.

What Will You Learn?

  • What role buffers play in helping to keep pH in culture systems constant and consist
  • How to control and manipulate pH in culture medium by adjusting the acid and basic forms of buffers
  • Best practices for handling culture media is that the physiological buffer, CO2/HCO3, which consists of a volatile component (CO2) and a non-volatile component (HCO3-)
  • How the physiological buffer can be influenced by cellular processes and experimental protocols

Who Should Attend?

  • Relevant to all researchers who use mammalian culture in their work. Particular emphasis on cancer work, as this is a major user of culture media.



Pawel Swietach, PhD

Pawel Swietach, PhD

Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, Oxford University

Associate Professor in Cardiovascular Physiology

Pawel is currently an associate professor at Oxford's department of physiology. His lab has a broad interest in acid-base disorders, and current projects concern acid-driven selection in cancer, the effects of acid-base disturbances in heart disease, inborn errors of metabolism that present with acidosis, and red blood cell physiology.

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