Media for cell culture and related supplements

The process of cell culture includes the growth and maintenance of cells in an environment that is not naturally conducive to their growth. Cells that are kept in a lab dish need the right cell culture medium and supplements to stay alive and grow. This is especially true for keeping the pH of the extracellular environment stable.

Carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamin and mineral supplements, and a pH buffer system are all necessary ingredients for a successful cell culture medium. Your selection of a medium has the potential to influence the precision, repeatability, and applicability of the outcomes of your experiment. When doing research that involves the use of cell culture, one of the most critical steps is to choose the appropriate medium and supplements.

Media and supplements designed specifically for cell culture

Because not all cells are the same, the in vitro culture environments in which various types of cells must be grown if they are to realize their full potential in terms of growth and function must also vary.

Our customized cell culture medium and supplements are designed for certain cell or tissue types and applications, such as cell maintenance, expansion, differentiation, dissociation, cryopreservation, and more. No matter if you are dealing with cells isolated from human tissues or cells from another species, our cell culture media and supplements may be included in every step of the process of carrying out your experiment.

Types of culture media

Initial research with cell cultures was conducted in natural media consisting of tissue extracts and bodily fluids; however, the necessity for standardization, media quality, and rising demand led to the development of defined media. Basal media, reduced-serum media, and serum-free media are the three main categories of culture medium based on whether or not they require serum supplementation.


The serum is added to basal media formulations to ensure the proper growth of most cell lines. Basal media formulations comprise amino acids, vitamins, inorganic salts, and a carbon source like glucose.

Reduced-serum media

Using a reduced-serum medium is another method for minimizing serum's negative effects in cell culture research. In order to reduce the amount of serum required, scientists have developed "reduced-serum media," which are essentially enhanced basic media formulations with nutrients and animal-derived components.

Serum-free media and its applications

Media without serum are those that are formulated to cultivate a certain type of cell or carry out a particular task without the presence of serum.

By substituting nutritional and hormonal formulations for the serum, serum-free medium (SFM) avoids the problems associated with employing animal sera. There are serum-free media formulations available for many primary cultures and cell lines, such as those that produce recombinant proteins from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, various hybridoma cell lines, the insect lines Sf9 and Sf21 (Spodoptera frugiperda), and cell lines that act as hosts for viral production (e.g., 293, VERO, MDCK, MDCK).

By selecting the optimal mix of growth factors, serum-free media may be made selective for particular cell types. The following are some benefits of utilizing medium without serum:

  • A higher degree of definition
  • Increased reliability in performance
  • Simplified processes for filtration and further processing
  • Exact assessments of the functions of individual cells
  • Accelerated rates of both growth and productivity
  • Improvements in the degree to which physiological response may be controlled
  • Improvements in the ability to detect cellular mediators

What is fetal bovine serum (FBS)?

Researchers in both academia and industry use fetal bovine serum (FBS), a byproduct of the meatpacking industry, as a supplement to basal growth media in cell culture applications. The fluid known as FBS is what is left over after a blood sample from a cow fetus has coagulated. There is no more popular serum supplement for in-vitro cell culture than FBS (for eukaryotic cells).

It's also useful in stem cell research and the development of vaccinations for humans and animals. It's also employed occasionally in cloning experiments and gene targeting.

The need for FBS

During the in vitro cultivation of eukaryotic cells, FBS is added as a growth supplement. Serums from animals, bovine as well as non-bovine serum, are commonly used in cell culture applications, but FBS is used most. 

FBS's growth factors and low levels of antibodies make it useful in a wide variety of cell culture settings. Proteins, electrolytes, lipids, carbohydrates, hormones, enzymes, and other thousands of unknown substances are present in FBS and are required for cell development in a wide variety of culture conditions.