The pH of a batch culture may change from its intended value as a result of an organism's metabolic activity. Buffers are added to a medium in order to minimise the effect of these changes. Such buffers must be non-toxic to the organism in question, and phosphate buffers are commonly used in microbial systems. Phosphate combines with hydrogen ions or hydroxyl ions to form respectively a weak acid or a weak base:
This reduces the impact on the pH of the medium.
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