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Acids, Bases, pH and Buffers

Special staining protocols are often dependent on the use of acids, bases, and buffers for favorable staining outcomes. The pH of a staining solution is a measure of its acidity (the balance of hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxyl ions (OH).

On a pH scale of 1-14

  • 1-6.9 is Acidic (More hydrogen than hydroxyl ions)

     

  • 7 - 7.4 is Neutral (Equal hydrogen and hydroxyl ions)

     

  • 7.5-14 is Basic (More hydroxyl than hydrogen ions)

     

Buffers are substances that are often added to staining solutions to prevent fluctuations in pH.