15 uses of MES Buffer you didn't know

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 chromatography1
  2. Used in gel-filtration chromatography
  3. Used in phosphocellulose column chromatography2
  4. Used in hydrophobic interaction chromatography2
  5. Used in SDS-PAGE3
  6. Used in for fluorescence microscopy4
  7. Suitable as a noncoordinating buffer in solutions with metal ions
  8. Suitable for the investigation of redox processes5
  9. Used to prepare culture medias, since it is not metabolized by bacteria and eukaryotic cells6
  10. Used in culture media for plant cells at low concentrations7
  11. Used for mammalian cell culture8
  12. Suitable for most toxicity studies9
  13. Used for in vitro dissolution testing of liposomes10
  14. MES interacts with peptide backbone of bovine serum albumin leading to a net stabilization of the protein11
  15. MES does not form radical species, making it suitable for redox studies5

Further reading:The 9 best biological buffers for cell culture

Further reading:What are the precautions in Cell Culture research?

Further reading:The 10 best biological buffers for chromatography


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 happen12
  • It can modify lipid interactions13
  • It inhibits the connexin channel activity in rat liver cells when it is in the protonated form14
  • It interferes with phenolic oxidation by peroxidases15
  • It is toxic to most plants at high concentrations6

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 https://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 https://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 https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/17893045

Release date:2019.01.24