Difference Between Dulbecco’s PBS and PBS (With Table)

For the regular updating and new research in the field of biology and chemicals, there are a lot of substances, particles, and equipment used in the process. Dulbecco’s PBS and PBS are one of those important things. These are water-based solutions. 

The purpose of their use is to balance and maintain consistent pH in biological and chemical applications that are needed for various tests, researches, and experiments. Though people may get confused between these two as they both are colorless, water-based solutions that mainly help in tissue building, there are some slight differences between them. 

Dulbecco’s PBS vs PBS

The difference between Dulbecco’s PBS and PBS is that even though both of these solutions are used in biological research, Dulbecco’s PBS has a different composition in comparison to the original PBS. Dulbecco’s PBS might contain calcium and magnesium, but standard PBS does not have these chemicals.

Dulbecco’s PBS is a buffer solution that is really vital, especially in acid chemistry. These are those solutions that are highly stable in pH. t has many uses like the rinsing of the tubes, dilution of substances, etc. 

PBS is a water-based solution that mainly contains disodium hydrogen phosphate, sodium chloride. It plays an important role in cell biology that is preventing the rupturing of cells and shriveling. It means it does not destroy the cell or make it wrinkle or shrunk it, and hence, overall, it doesn’t mess with the experiment. 

Comparison Table Between Dulbecco’s PBS and PBS

Parameters of Comparison Dulbecco’s PBS PBS 
Abbreviation  Dulbecco’s phosphate-buffered saline phosphate-buffered saline 
Definition  A buffer solution used for many purposes in biological research mainly maintains the constant pH level. A water-based composition made up of sodium chloride and hydrogen phosphate, which is highly stable in the pH level.
Calcium or magnesium  The solution of DPBS might contain calcium or magnesium according to the needs of the solution. PBS does not hold calcium or magnesium generally. 
Standard pH 7.2-7.6 6.8 – 7.4 
Concentration of phosphate It is lower in Dulbecco’s PBS than in PBS. The concentration of phosphate is higher in PBS solution.  

What is Dulbecco’s PBS?

Dulbecco’s PBS is a water-based solution used for the purpose of biological research. The color of the solution is Clear. It is a Colourless Solution. The main use of this particular solution is to maintain the PH in a cell while experimenting so they don’t get expanded or contracted. Other purposes include the cleaning of cells, preserve cells with the help of other substances. 

One of the main things that make it different than the standard PBS is the concentration of phosphate. It is lower than the PBS solution. But like PBS, it is also compatible with the human body. Dulbecco’s PBS, which doesn’t contain Calcium (Ca) or Magnesium (Mg), is also known as CMF-PBS (Calcium-Magnesium free) PBS.

The base solution includes Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, and in some experiments, calcium, and magnesium. Also, the addition of Phenol red is up to the person using it in their respective experiment. All over, it is a BSS, that is, a balanced salt solution. The Recommended storage temperature is 2-8 °C. If the solution becomes turbid, that is, the conversion of liquid into a more thick substance, it should be discarded. 

What is PBS?

PBS is an abbreviation for phosphate-buffered saline. It is used for tissue processing and for the maintenance of pH. Since it is isotonic to humans, it is safe for use as it has fewer chances to cause toxicity or cell damage during any experiment or research. 

Though they are safer than other chemicals to use, the cells shouldn’t be kept in the solution for a long period of time since, after a while, they might be the chance of undergoing some extra time, and the cells might die because of over-stressing. 

The main components include Sodium chloride(NaCl), Sodium phosphate (KCl), Potassium chloride (Na2HPO4), Potassium phosphate(KH2PO4). Aside from maintaining the level of pH, it is used to clean the containers, dry molecules, and dilute certain substances.  

It is isotonic to the human body as the ion concentration and osmolality, that is, the solution of two or more substances in terms of osmoles, making it safer than other substances, and hence, it is used for many vital purposes.  

Main Differences Between Dulbecco’s PBS and PBS

  1. The concentration of Dulbecco’s PBS is different from the regular PBS solution. Dulbecco’s PBS is lower than the concentration of PBS. 
  2. Dulbecco’s PBS might have magnesium or calcium as additives in it, but in comparison, PBS does not have them in its solution.   
  3. The main use of Dulbecco’s PBS is cell tonicity and viability. While PBS is mostly used to maintain the constant level of pH.
  4. PBS’s main components include: containing disodium hydrogen phosphate, sodium chloride. In opposite to this, Dulbecco’s PBS is slightly lower in phosphate concentration Dulbecco’s. 
  5. Dulbecco’s PBS might contain phenol red in its solution. On the other hand, original PBS does not contain Phenol red. 
  6. The standard pH level of Dulbecco’s PBS is 7.2 to 7.6. And on the comparison, the standard pH level of PBS solution is 6.8 to 7.4.


Though both of these substances can be used in place of each other, it depends from solution to solution. These can be stored either in the refrigerator or at room temperature and can be made from ready-made pouches or packets or by the person experimenting themselves. There are different ways to prepares the solution, but the end result would end up the same in both cases. 

They both are the buffer solutions used mainly for biological research. But the preference of solution is according to the need of experiment or research. Some solutions may require potassium phosphate and potassium chloride aside from the basic solution for PBS and calcium and magnesium for DPBS. 


  1. https://currentprotocols.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/0471143030.cb0901s00
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010938X16300026
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