2-Mercaptoethanol (2-ME) has been used in ESC culture media since the first derivation of mouse ESCs in 1981. Originally included as a reducing agent because of concern about oxidation of culture components, it continues to be used in hESC media. Since the final concentration is 0.1 mM, and the pure solutions of 2-ME are 14.3 M, it is necessary to start with a stock solution.
Several companies sell diluted solutions of 2-ME; the 55 mM solution in PBS (Invitrogen catalog no. 21985-023) is a convenient concentration for a stock.
If you wish to make your own stock, we suggest that you make a 1000 X stock from the generally available concentrated solution (14.3 M).
For 1000X stock: dilute 35 |L of 14.3 M 2-ME (Sigma catalog no. M7522) into 5 mL of PBS to make a 0.1 M stock solution. Filter before use.
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