For decades, Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) has been a vital supplement for the successful culture of a diverse range of cell types. FBS is an undefined, complex source of growth factors, hormones, lipids, attachment factors, and trace elements. In addition, it neutralizes harmful substances in the culture media. Despite its utility, many scientists are trying to reduce or replace animal serum in culture media due to ethical concerns, rising costs, batch variability, and concerns over infectious agents. To this end, public and commercial efforts have focused on developing serum replacement products, some of which may be successful for cell lines. For cells with more complex nutritional requirements, such as primary cells, these products cannot yet support cell growth and viability as well as FBS. Attempts to replace serum in primary cell culture continue today.
While researchers typically use classical or nutrient media supplemented with 10% or higher serum for cell lines, primary cells often require specialty media formulated for specific cell types. The combination of an optimized basal medium and a growth supplement comprised of specific growth factors and hormones enables lower serum use (2-5%). In addition to lowering serum, efforts to remove serum from primary culture media have also been employed with varying success. For example, serum-free media for primary neurons and epithelial cells are used regularly. Furthermore, as therapies using cultured cells are approaching clinical use, media free of any animal-derived components (animal-free) are in especially high demand.
Designing and optimizing low serum or serum-free specialty media for primary cells can be costly and time-consuming. ScienCell has spent over 20 years developing the largest variety of low serum (46) and serum-free (32) specialty media for primary cells. We also offer animal component-free media for keratinocytes, fibroblasts, hematopoietic cells, and pluripotent and mesenchymal stem cells. ScienCell is committed to developing new serum- and animal component-free media to better support researchers’ needs. Please visit our website for more information: www.sciencellonline.com.