Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) is commonly used to stabilize some proteins during reactions and can also prevent adhesion to reaction tubes and pipette surfaces. We understand that there is an increased need for comparable performance using BSA-free reagents and are excited to announce that NEB has switched our current BSA-containing reaction buffers (NEBuffer 1.1, 2.1, 3.1 and CutSmart Buffer) to Recombinant Albumin-containing buffers (NEBuffer r1.1, r2.1, r3.1 and rCutSmart Buffer).
Key points to remember
- Use of rAlbumin in reaction buffers enables them to be used in situations where BSA-free reagents are required
- There is no difference in enzyme performance when using buffers containing BSA and buffers containing rAlbumin
- If you have a buffer containing rAlbumin, we recommend using it, but you can also continue to use buffers containing BSA if “animal-free” sources are not a requirement
- NEB offers the NEBuffer Set (r1.1, r2.1, r3.1 & rCutSmart Buffer) and rCutSmart Buffer if you wish to purchase these buffers separately
In a second step, also the enzyme storage buffers will be switched to contain recombinant albumin. Some of our restriction enzymes are already sold as “completely BSA-free” as standard catalog items since the beginning of November 2021. The product information for the affected products has already been updated and can be found in the lot-specific certificates of analysis which can be retrieved from the product website (www.neb.com/catalognumber).
More information on this topic can be found here.
We feel that moving away from animal-containing products is a step in the right direction and are able to offer this enhancement at the same price.
What does this mean for you?
During this transition period, you may receive product with BSA or rAlbumin-containing buffers. NEB has rigorously tested both and has not seen a difference in enzyme performance when using either buffer. Either buffer can be used with your enzyme. All website content will be switched in April to reflect the changes, although you may not receive the new buffer with your product immediately.
What is Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin)?
Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin) (NEB #B9200) is a non-bovine derived albumin that can serve as an alternative to Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA). Like BSA, it has been shown to prevent adhesion of enzymes to reaction tubes and pipette surfaces. It also stabilizes some proteins during incubation. Choose Recombinant Albumin when there is a need to avoid BSA.
Why is NEB switching to buffers containing Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin)?
In addition to being animal-free, a recombinant source of albumin offers increased consistency and purity. It eliminates sources of contamination and decreases lot-to-lot variability.
Is there a performance difference between buffers containing BSA and buffers containing Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin)?
NEB has rigorously tested the performance between BSA- and rAlbumin-containing buffers (NEB #B9200). We have not seen a difference in enzyme performance when using either buffer. Rest assured, you can continue to use either version for your experiments.
The enzyme I received says it contains BSA in the reaction buffer but the website says it contains Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin)? Which is correct?
All NEBuffers with BSA have been switched to contain rAlbumin (NEB #B9200). All content on the website has been updated in April 2021 to reflect this change. That said, you may receive a buffer containing BSA or rAlbumin with your product. There is no difference in enzyme performance when using either buffer, so we recommend using whichever buffer is included with your enzyme.
Should I only be using buffers containing Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin)?
All NEBuffers with BSA have been switched to contain rAlbumin (NEB #B9200). You may receive a buffer containing BSA or rAlbumin with your product. There is no difference in enzyme performance when using either buffer, so we recommend using whichever buffer is included with your enzyme.
Can I continue to use the reaction buffers containing BSA?
Yes, since there is no difference in enzyme performance when using NEBuffers containing BSA or Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin) (NEB #B9200), you can continue to use buffers containing BSA. Please note that by the end of 2021, we will no longer supply BSA-containing buffers.
Can I purchase buffers containing Recombinant Albumin (rAlbumin) separately?
Yes, NEBuffer Set (r1.1, r2.1, r3.1, rCutSmart) (NEB #B7030) can be purchased separately. This product contains one vial of each rAlbumin-containing buffer. You can also purchase rCutSmart Buffer (NEB #B6004) which contains 4 vials of rCutSmart Buffer. In addition, Recombinant Albumin (NEB #B9200) is available as a stand-alone product.
Is the enzyme storage buffer BSA-free as well?
In a first step, we have switched all NEBuffers, i.e. the reaction buffers to contain rAlbumin instead of BSA. However, we have also started to switch the enzyme formulations, i.e., the storage buffer of the restriction enzymes to rAlbumin. This change will take some time. You can identify enzymes that are already shipped in BSA-free formulations by the corresponding information in the product documentation that accompanies the enzyme and on the respective product website in the section “Change Notification”.
We already offer many enzymes in a BSA-free formulation as a special order. Our Customized Solutions Team is happy to assist you with your request.