15 uses of MES Buffer you didn’t know

Daniel Maia
Oct 8, 2019 · 4 min read

forward from: https://www.hopaxfc.com/en

MES was one of the first zwitterionic buffers described by Norman E. Good in 1966. Nowadays it is commonly used in biological and biochemical research, but… what is MES actually suitable for? We collected reliable information from renowned academic sources in order to help scientists understanding better MES’ characteristics and suitability for different biotechnology applications (cell culture, chromatography, and others). Check out our findings!

MES basic information:

  • CAS Number: 4432–31–9
  • Molecular Weight: 195.2
  • Formula: C6H13NO4S
  • Useful ph range: 5.5–6.7
  • pKa (25°C): 5.9–6.3

What is MES recommended for?

  1. As most of anionic buffers, MES it is suitable for cation exchange chromatography and hydroxylapatite chromatography(1)
  2. Used in gel-filtration chromatography
  3. Used in phosphocellulose column chromatography(2)
  4. Used in hydrophobic interaction chromatography(2)
  5. Used in SDS-PAGE(3)
  6. Used in for fluorescence microscopy(4)
  7. Suitable as a noncoordinating buffer in solutions with metal ions
  8. Suitable for the investigation of redox processes(5)
  9. Used to prepare culture medias, since it is not metabolized by bacteria and eukaryotic cells(6)
  10. Used in culture media for plant cells at low concentrations(7)
  11. Used for mammalian cell culture(8)
  12. Suitable for most toxicity studies(9)
  13. Used for in vitro dissolution testing of liposomes(10)
  14. MES interacts with peptide backbone of bovine serum albumin leading to a net stabilization of the protein(11)
  15. MES does not form radical species, making it suitable for redox studies(5)

Which concerns should you have before choosing MES for your research?

  • It can be oxidized by H2O2, but since the oxidation happens slowly, no considerable impact on biological/biochemical systems is expected to happen(12)
  • It can modify lipid interactions(13)
  • It inhibits the connexin channel activity in rat liver cells when it is in the protonated form(14)
  • It interferes with phenolic oxidation by peroxidases(15)
  • It is toxic to most plants at high concentrations(6)

Useful tips about MES:

  • Low ionic mobility at high concentrations
  • Low conductivity at high concentrations
  • Weak binding with most metal ions
  • Considered a good alternative to cacodylate, a highly toxic buffer
  • Considered a good alternative to citrate, a buffer that binds to some proteins and forms complexes with some metals
  • Considered a good alternative to maleic acid, a buffer with high UV-absorption

Hopax MES Buffer

Hopax Fine Chemicals is among the largest producers of MES in the world. Our products are shipped daily to top research centers and biotech companies in Europe, America and Asia.

What we offer:

  • Product straight from our manufacturing sites
  • Worldwide shipping to your door
  • Assistance with shipping
  • Small and bulk packages (from grams to tons)
  • International quality standards
  • After-sales service with English speaking staff

Check the specs and price of Hopax MES


1 Blanchard, J.S. (1984) Methods Enzymol. 104, 404–414. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6717292

2 Alonso, A. D. C., Zaidi, T., Novak, M., Grundke-Iqbal, I., and Iqbal, K. (2001) Hyperphosphorylation induces self-assembly of τ into tangles of paired helical filaments/straight filaments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(12), 6923–6928. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC34454/

3 Kashino, Y., Koike, H., and Satoh, K. (2001) An improved sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis system for the analysis of membrane protein complexes. Electrophoresis, 22(6), 1004–1007. Available at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1522-2683%28%2922%3A6%3C1004%3A%3AAID-ELPS1004%3E3.0.CO%3B2-Y

4 Neill, S. J., Desikan, R., Clarke, A., and Hancock, J. T. (2002) Nitric oxide is a novel component of abscisic acid signaling in stomatal guard cells. Plant Physiology, 128(1), 13–16. Available at http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/128/1/13

5 Grady, J.K. et al. (1988) Anal. Biochem. 173, 111–115. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2847586

6 Parfitt, D. E., Almehdi, A. A. and Bloksberg, L. N. (1988) Sci. Hortic., 36, 157–163. Available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0304423888900490

7 Ferreira, C.M., Pinto, I.S., Soares, E.V., Soares, H.M. (2015) (Un)suitability of the use of pH buffers in biological, biochemical and environmental studies and their interaction with metal ions — a review, Royal Society of Chemistry, 30989- 31003. Available at https://repositorium.sdum.uminho.pt/bitstream/1822/38712/1/document_19948_1.pdf

8 Nagira, K., Hayashida, M., Shiga, M., Sasamoto, K., Kina, K., Osada, K., Sugahara, T. and Murakami, H. (1995) Cytotechnology, 17, 117–125. Available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00749399

9 Soares, E. V., Duarte, A. P. R. S. and Soares, H. M. V. M. (2000) Chem. Speciation Bioavailability, 12, 59–65

10 Xu, X; Khan, M. K.; Burgess, D. J. (2012) A Two-Stage Reverse Dialysis In Vitro Dissolution Testing Method for Passive Targeted Liposomes, Int. J. Pharm., 426, 211–218. Available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378517312000646?via%3Dihub

11 Taha, M., Gupta, B. S., Khoiroh, I., Lee, M-J. (2011) Interactions of Biological Buffers: The Ubiquitous “Smart” Polymer PNIPAM and the Biological Buffers, MES, MOPS and MOPSO. Macromolecules. 44, 8575–8589. Available at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ma201790c

12 Zhao, G., and Chasteen, N. D. (2006) Anal. Biochem., 349, 262–267. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16289439

13 Koerner, M. M., Palacio, L. A., Wright, J. W., Schweitzer, K. S., Ray, B. D. and Petrache, H. I (2011) Biophys. J., 101, 362–369. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21767488

14 Bevans, C. G. and Harris, A. L. (1999) J. Biol. Chem., 274, 3711–3719. Available at http://www.jbc.org/content/274/6/3711

15 Baker, C. J., Mock, N. M., Roberts, D. P., Deahl, K. L., Hapeman, C. J., Schmidt, W. F. and Kochansky, J. (2007) Free Radical Biol. Med., 43, 1322–1327. Available at http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/17893045


Hopax Fine Chemicals is the fine chemicals division of…


Hopax Fine Chemicals is the fine chemicals division of Taiwan Hopax Chemicals Mfg. Co. Ltd., a global leader in the manufacturing of fine chemicals, specialty chemicals and self-adhesive paper products.

Daniel Maia

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Hopax Fine Chemicals is the fine chemicals division of Taiwan Hopax Chemicals Mfg. Co. Ltd., a global leader in the manufacturing of fine chemicals, specialty chemicals and self-adhesive paper products.