Solving Your Dilution Dilemma

When asked to dilute a solution, students (and sometimes teachers) tend to panic! A dilution is a common laboratory technique used for preparing reagents and solutions. Though we all know what it means to ‘dilute’, sometimes one can be confused on how to actually perform a dilution. Let’s start with a basic definition:

A dilution is a technique used to make a solute (for example EDVOTEK’s 50X TAE) less concentrated by adding a solvent (distilled water). 

Let’s say you need to prepare 3 liters of 1X TAE buffer (diluted) using 50X TAE (concentrated) for your electrophoresis apparatus.  Wait a minute, what does the ‘X’ actually stand for? The ‘X’ basically refers to the concentration of the solution you are working with. In other words, to get the workable concentration of 1X, you will dilute the initial stock (50X) 50 times!

Back to the question: How much of the 50X TAE do you need in order to prepare 3 liters of 1X TAE? In this case, the solute is 50X TAE and the solvent will be distilled water. Dilution problems can be solved using a simple dilution formula:

C1 x V1 = C2 x V2

C1 = Initial Concentration

V1 = Initial Volume

C2 = Final Concentration

V2= Final Volume

And the rest is easy! Just simply plug in the numbers and solve! For this problem, the initial concentration you are working with is 50X, the final concentration you want is 1X, and the final volume will be 3 liters or 3000ml.

(50X) x (V1) = (1X) x (3000mls),

V1 = (1X) x (3000mls) / 50X

V1 = 60 ml

GraduatedSo, we need 60ml of 50X TAE to prepare a total volume of 3000 ml, 1X TAE. After subtracting 60mls from the total volume (3000ml), you will need 2,940 ml of distilled water to add to 60ml of 50X TAE. Congratulations! You just did a 1:50 dilution!

Have any other technical questions? Please call EDVOTEK’s Technical Support at 1.800.338.6835, available Monday-Friday 8:00am -5pm.