Don't Want to Use Serum? Alternatives for Cell Separation Buffers

When isolating cells using EasySep™ or RoboSep™ cell separation systems, the traditionally recommended buffer is 2% FBS in Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS, Ca2+ and Mg2+ free), with 1 mM EDTA. For your convenience, you can purchase this buffer ready-made from STEMCELL Technologies (EasySep™ Buffer, 1 L, Catalog #20144 or RoboSep™ Buffer, 250 mL, Catalog #20104).

However, if you prefer to avoid the use of serum, you could use an alternative buffer consisting of PBS (Ca2+ and Mg2+free), supplemented with 0.5% BSA or HSA, and 2 mM EDTA. We provide a serum-free buffer which contains 0.5% BSA (RoboSep Buffer 2, 250 mL, Catalog #20164). If required, you could also substitute the PBS for Hank's Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS, Ca2+ and Mg2+ free, Catalog #37250).

We cannot recommend using other media (such as RPMI, DMEM/F12 or DMEM) as the buffer for cell separations, as we have not tested this. Our cell separation kits have only been validated using the recommended buffers above. More importantly, most media (e.g. DMEM) is not buffered, unless it's maintained in an environment with 5-10% CO2. Outside of a CO2 incubator, the pH of the media will likely change, which is not optimal.

For further assistance and information, please contact

Related Resource

Choosing a Cell Separation Method that Meets Your Research Needs

Learn more about the cell separation methods outlined above to choose the best method for your application.

Compare Methods >

Contact STEMCELL Technologies

Our Customer Service, Sales, and Product and Scientific Support departments in North America are available between 6 am and 5 pm Pacific Time (9 am and 8 pm Eastern Time). One of our representatives will be happy to help you by telephone or email. Please complete the form to contact us by email. A representative will get back to you shortly.

StemCell Technologies Inc. and affiliates ("STEMCELL Technologies") does not share your email address with third parties. StemCell Technologies Inc. will use your email address to confirm your identity and send you newsletters, transaction-related emails, promotional and customer service emails in accordance with our privacy policy. You can change your email preferences at any time.