Keep in mind, buffers are used to resist changes to pH. Even small concentrations of a strong acid or base, without a buffer, could significantly change environmental pH. Therefore, a reason for choosing between tris HCl or tris base may also depend on what you intend to achieve with the buffer you are making.

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between tris and tris HCl by exploring what they are, what applications use them, and when you would choose one or the other.

In this Article

What is Tris (Tris Base)

What is Tris HCl

I have seen some protocols call for Tris Cl and others call for Tris HCl, what is the difference?

How do you choose between using Tris Base and Tris HCl

Related GoldBio Protocols

Related GoldBio Products

References

 

What is Tris (Tris Base)

Tris (tris base) is an organic compound primarily used in molecular biology to make buffer solutions or act as a basic buffer. Commonly used buffer recipes using tris include:

  • CTAB DNA extraction buffer
  • TAE buffer
  • TBE buffer
  • TE buffer
  • Tris buffer stock solution
  • Tris glycine buffer

Aside from common recipes, researchers use tris to buffer pH changes in solution or as a buffer in more specialized protocols (Harvey, nd.).

Additional protocols calling for tris (tris base) include:

What is Tris HCl

Tris HCL is a buffering agent (acidic buffer) commonly used by molecular biologists to adjust the pH of a solution or stabilize the pH. Commercially available Tris HCl is Tris with HCl added. It can be in used in common buffer recipes such as:

  • CTAB DNA extraction buffer
  • Leammli buffer for SDS-PAGE
  • TAE buffer
  • TBE buffer
  • TE buffer
  • Tris HCl Buffer Solution

Determining whether to use tris HCl or tris base for these commonly used recipes depends on the protocol you’re working with. When you need to adjust the pH of your solution, you can use the conjugate acidic or basic component (Harvey, n.d.). For example, if using a protocol calling for tris HCl, you can adjust the pH using tris base.

Other protocols involving tris HCl include

 

I have seen some protocols call for Tris Cl and others call for Tris HCl, what is the difference?

After browsing different buffer protocols, you might be wondering what is the difference between tris Cl and tris HCl? There is no difference between tris Cl and tris HCl. They are the same. Tris Cl and tris HCl recipes both call for the same thing: Dissolving tris into water and adjusting the pH with HCl.

Be cautious about adjusting the pH when working with tris. The pH of tris will change if your working temperature changes. To prevent pH fluctuation, adjust your pH in the same temperature you’re carrying out your work.

 

How do you choose between using Tris Base and Tris HCl

With the same common buffer recipes being listed for both tris base and tris HCl, when do you actually choose to use one versus the other? The decision really comes down to the protocol being used or how you need to adjust the pH of your buffer.

If you need to lower the pH of your tris buffer, choose tris HCl. If, however, you need to increase the pH of your buffer, use tris base.

illustration how to choose tris base or tris hcl - choose tris base when you want to increase pH and tris HCl when you want to decrease pH

Figure 1. Illustrates scenarios where you would choose tris base or tris HCl.

The advantage of using tris HCl rather than HCl to lower pH is that it:

  • Reduces the chance of overshooting the pH.
  • Prevents the need to use a strong acid to adjust the pH.
  • Helps maintain reproducibility.

Just as you would use tris HCl to decrease pH, the advantages of using tris base to raise pH rather than NaOH or KOH are the same:

  • It minimizes the chance of pH overshoot.
  • It prevents having to use a strong base.
  • It helps maintain reproducibility.

 

Related GoldBio Protocols

Agarose Gel Preparation Protocol

Antibody Binding Protocol – Protein A Agarose Beads
Antibody Binding Protocol – Protein G Agarose Beads

DNase Inactivation in RNase A Solution Protocol

Electrotransformation of Agrobacterium tumefaciens
Ellmans Test Protocol

Enzymatic Assay of L-Fucose Dehydrogenase
IPTG Induction and Extraction of Proteins Protocol

One-Dimensional SDS-PAGE Protocol

Low Melt Agarose Gel Preparation Protocol
Radio Immunoprecipitation Assay (RIPA) Cell Lysate Preparation

TAE Stock Solution – 50X

TBE Stock Solution – 10X

TE Buffer Stock Solution – 10X

Tris Buffer Stock Solution

Tris HCl Buffer Stock Solution
TTE Stock Solution – 10X

Related GoldBio Products

Tris (Tris Base)

Tris HCl

References

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. (1970, January 01). CTAB DNA extraction buffer. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from http://cshprotocols.cshlp.org/content/2009/3/pdb.rec11718.full

 

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. (1970, January 01). TE buffer. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from http://cshprotocols.cshlp.org/content/2009/1/pdb.rec11601.full?text_only=true

 

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. (1970, January 01). Tris-Cl. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from http://cshprotocols.cshlp.org/content/2006/1/pdb.rec8063.full?sid=a826a978-7ab5-4045-9a9b-129ddcae8a46

 

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. (1970, January 01). Tris-HCl. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from http://cshprotocols.cshlp.org/content/2006/1/pdb.rec8747.full?text_only=true

Current Protocols in Human Genetics. (2001, May 01). Common buffers, media, and stock solutions. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://currentprotocols.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/0471142905.hga02ds26

 

Harvey, D. (n.d.). Key for characterizing A TRIS buffer – DePauw University. Retrieved March 31, 2021, from http://dpuadweb.depauw.edu/harvey_web/Chem260/Chem260pdfs/WorksheetKeys/characterizeTRIS_Key.pdf

 

Libretexts. (2019, July 10). 8.9 buffer capacity and Buffer Range. Retrieved March 31, 2021, from https://chem.libretexts.org/Courses/Grand_Rapids_Community_College/CHM_120_-_Survey_of_General_Chemistry/8%3A_Acids_and_Bases/8.09_Buffer_Capacity_and_Buffer_Range

 

Pornillos, O., & Pornillos, B. (n.d.). Recipes for stock solutions and general use buffers [PDF]. Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics University of Virginia – Pornillos and Ganser-Pornillos Lab.

 

Share Biology. (2020, April 07). Laemmli buffer: Preparation (1x,2x & 4x) and principle. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://sharebiology.com/laemmli-buffer-preparation/#gs.xnu1jl

 

University of Michigan Chemistry 241. (n.d.). Principles of buffers – university of michigan. Retrieved March 31, 2021, from http://www.umich.edu/~chem241/lecture8.pdf

 

Yang, W. (2017, June 23). CTAB DNA Extraction protocol of p. pruinosa. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://www.protocols.io/view/ctab-dna-extraction-protocol-of-p-pruinosa-icgcatw