What is HBSS Buffer (Hank’s balanced salt solution)?

Are you studying cell biology, molecular biology, or even biochemistry? then you might have heard of HBSS buffer. But what actually HBSS buffer is? and why it is used in cell culture.

What is HBSS Buffer?

HBSS is short for Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution. This solution was named after biologist John H. Hanks, who formulated it in 1940. This solution is used as a buffering system in cell cultures and helps maintain optimal pH or cell growth. The optimal pH values are between 7.0 and 7.4.

HBSS consists of inorganic salts and is supplemented with glucose. The solution can be used to wash cells and tissues and to keep cells in a viable state. This solution is phosphate buffered and maintains physiological pH and osmotic pressure.

HBSS is used in cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry experiments, and all biological research. It is placed in the Petri dish with a cell or tissue during the biological experiment.

This buffer solution keeps the cell or tissue out of the growth medium for examination or for use during activity since HBBS solutions contain glucose and sodium bicarbonate.

HBSS is an isotonic solution designed to maintain a specific pH and osmotic pressure of the sample. It provides a sufficient amount of salt ions to sample cells and tissues, which balances the amount of water in the cell. This results in the specimen being preserved in its natural state and structure. Providing the wrong amount of salt ions in the solution can cause the cell to shrink or burst.

Because there are some risks involved in preparing Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution, many prefer to purchase the solution rather than make it. Recipes for these solutions vary by ingredient or concentration; it largely depends on the user or company making the solution.

What is HBSS Buffer (Hank's balanced salt solution)?

Composition Of The HBSS Buffer Solution

Inorganic Salts g/Lg/L
CaCL2 dihydrate0.185
MgSO4 (anhydrous)0.09767
KCl0.4
KH2PO4 (anhydrous)0.06
NaHCO30.35
NaCl8.0
Na2PO4 (anhydrous)0.04788
D-Glucose1.0
Specifications 
pH7.4 ± 0.2