Buffers, Especially the Good Kind

Fifty-five years ago, Norman Good and colleagues authored a paper that fundamentally advanced wet biochemistry [Good, N. E., Winget, G. D., Winter, W., Connolly, T. N., Izawa, S., and Singh, R. M. M. (1966) Hydrogen ion buffers for biological research. Biochemistry 5, 467–477] and in doing so has amassed more than 2500 citations. They laid out the properties required for useful, biochemically relevant hydrogen-ion buffers and then synthesized and tested 10 of them. Soon after, these buffers became commercially available. Since then, most of us never gave them a second thought. We just use them. Here, I discuss some of the background regarding the genesis of “Good’s buffers”, make a few (disparaging) observations about the non-Good’s buffer, Tris, and suggest that we synthesize new buffers by combining the ideas of Good et al. with results from the past 60 years of protein chemistry.

Buffers, Especially the Good Kind Gary J. Pielak Biochemistry 2021 60 (46), 3436-3440 DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00200