A buffer is a solution designed to maintain pH conditions constant. In the oil and gas industry, phosphate buffer is used for short-term storage and transportation of bacterial samples. Sessile bacteria can also be stored is phosphate buffer until they reach a laboratory for their analysis and characterization. If media inoculations cannot be made on the field, phosphate buffer will provide a stable environment for the bacteria without affecting its concentration.
Frequently Asked Questions
1-Can I customize phosphate buffer?
It can be customized to some extent. Since it is a buffer it is already designed to maintain certain conditions constant, so changing it too much will defeat its purpose. Sodium chloride concentrations can change in small percentages. Also, it could be manufactured under strict anaerobic conditions if it is requested keeping in mind that the moment the vial is opened, oxygen will enter making the conditions aerobic once again.
2-For how long can bacteria remain alive inside phosphate buffer vials?
Phosphate buffer is not bacterial media. It doesn’t possess the necessary nutrients for normal bacterial growth; it simple provides and stable environment to keep bacterial cells stable enough until they are transferred to more suitable conditions. Depending on the TDS of the original sample, bacterial cells can remain viable for about 2 to 3 weeks until they start experiencing a significant reduction on their population. Keep in mind that some bacteria will also last longer than others depending on pH, oxygen, and temperature conditions.
3- What is the difference between phosphate buffer vials with glass beads and without glass beads?
Chemically speaking there is no difference between phosphate buffer vials with beads and without beads. Glass beads are added in certain cases to break down bacterial biofilms, sediments and other physical contaminants that could hold bacterial cells. If your sample is free from physical particles or contaminants it is not necessary to obtain phosphate buffer with glass beads.
4- Are there any special requirements to store phosphate buffer vials?
No, phosphate buffer is very stable at room temperatures and it can last for quite some time if it is not used.