Dictionary > Buffer


noun, plural: buffers
(1) (chemistry) A buffer solution : a solution containing either a weak acid and a conjugate base or a weak base and a conjugate acid, used to stabilize the pH of a liquid upon dilution.
(2) (biochemistry) An ionic compound that when added to a solution neutralizes both acids and bases without significantly changing the original acidity or alkalinity of a solution.
(3) (ecology) A buffer species: a plant or animal species that becomes an alternate prey to a predator that typically feeds on another species.
(4) Anything that cushions, shields or protects against harm, damage, etc., e.g. a high reproductive rate is an efficient buffer against population crashes.
In ecology, a buffer species is a plant or an animal that becomes an alternate prey to a predator. This happens when the predator’s preferable, usual prey species is scarce or absent.
A buffer may also refer to a vegetated area near a stream that plays a conservatory role in the environment. Such buffer is particularly called a riparian buffer.
In biochemistry, a buffer, specifically a buffer solution, is essential for many biochemical processes. It serves to maintain the correct pH necessary as many enzymes work only under precise pH conditions.
Word origin: from obsolete buff, to make a sound like a soft body being hit, of imitative origin.
Related terms:

You will also like...

Sensory systems
Sensory Systems

A sensory system is a part of the nervous system consisting of sensory receptors that receive stimuli from the internal ..

New Zealand - Biodiversity fauna
New Zealand’s Biodiversity

Find out more about New Zealand's unique biodiversity by exploring a range of different ecosystems and the key role of s..

Thermographic image of face and neck
Regulation of Organic Metabolism, Growth and Energy Balance

The human body is capable of regulating growth and energy balance through various feedback mechanisms. Get to know the e..

Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung
Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung

In this tutorial, the works of Carl Gustav Jung and Sigmund Freud are described. Both of them actively pursued the way h..

Digestion and Absorption of Food
Digestion and Absorption of Food

The gastrointestinal system breaks down particles of ingested food into molecular forms by enzymes through digestion and..

The process of photosynthesis
Photosynthesis – Photolysis and Carbon Fixation

Photosynthesis is the process that plants undertake to create organic materials from carbon dioxide and water, with the ..