[Histonet] bovine albumin and BSA; if replacable

Phillip Huff huffpw <@t> uleth.ca
Wed Dec 17 15:02:53 CST 2003

Both of these products are an enriched form of bovine serum albumin.
A-2153 is the most commonly used and, as far as I remember, the cheaper of
the two. The lower cost is simply due to a lower degree of purity (96%).
We use A-2153 for our enzyme assays as a carrier of acyl-CoA, and I have
used it for IHC without any problems.

B-4287 is also albumin from a bovine serum source but has been purified to
the extreme. As noted below, it is recommended for Southerns (the blot,
not people from the South ;))
The information below is from Sigma's website. I would recommend A-2153
because (i) its cheaper, and (ii) should suit your needs.

As far as I am aware, BSA is commonly used for a number of biochemical
applications because the source, bovine serum, is readily available in
most beef eating countries. In addition, the work done on purifying these
proteins was optimized by people investigating cattle, where they obtained
their samples from slaughter houses. Take a look at the work done by
Christian Anfinsen (ca. 1950's Boston) and his work determining the
disulfide bonding nature of ribonuclease. He got all his samples from the
slaughterhouse next door.

A-2153 Albumin bovine serum (pH 7 minimum 96% (electrophoresis)
Lyophilized powder)
 - Although it may be used as a carrier for hapten immunization in animals
other than goats and sheep, it is more commonly used as a carrier for
hapten in immunoassays. The small size of BSA, its abundance in serum,
and the similarity between BSA and albumins from other species makes it
less desirable for antibody production.

B-4287 Albumin bovine serum (for molecular biology, powder)
 - A non-acetylated protein suitable as a blocking agent in Southern
blotting. If your application requires nuclease-free BSA, we recommend
our acetylated BSA for these critical applications.


Dear All
> Please tell me if albumin, bovine (Sigma A-2153) can be used instead of
> bovine serum albumin (BSA) (Sigma B-4287) as diluent of antibody for IHC?
> What are the differences of the uses of albumin, bovine and BSA; and why ?
> Thanks in advance
> Subrata Biswas
> Dept of Nephrology
> UNICAMP, SP, Brazil
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