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What is cell culture?

Cell culture refers to the growth of cells from animals in a tissue culture flask or a bioreactor. A key consideration for in vitro cell culture bioprocessing is growth media. Cell culture media typically has amino acids, vitamins, glucose, and inorganic salts. Basal media is often supplemented with bovine serum, the liquid portion that's left once blood coagulates. Serum adds components that promote robust growth of eukaryotic cell types, such as insect and mammalian cell lines.

Explore the range of sera products

Several factors are important when selecting cell culture serum products. Among these are the type of cells, application, and required serum quality. Sterility assurance, testing for viruses and endotoxin, and cost are just some of the things to consider. We offer a wide range of serum products to meet your specific requirements. Fetal bovine serum (FBS) is the most common type used in cell culture. Engineered serum products and non-fetal cell culture alternatives including bovine calf serum (BCS) act as a cost-effective replacement for FBS while ensuring high performance.

Engineered serum and bovine serum alternatives FAQs

Below are answers to some common questions regarding engineered serum and FBS alternatives.

Why are serum alternatives needed?

Compared with FBS, serum alternatives and engineered sera are better characterized and offer greater control over cell culture processes and experiments, which helps increase standardization to improve consistency. They often work well with a wide variety of cell lines. With ethical concerns about fetal bovine serum harvest and collection, engineered sera and alternatives reduce the need for bovine fetuses.

What’s the difference between fetal bovine serum and fetal bovine serum alternatives?

Bovine serum is a byproduct of the dairy industry that comes from blood drawn from a bovine fetus. Through a closed collection system, fetal blood is harvested from pregnant cows at the slaughterhouse. Fetal bovine serum has low levels of antibodies and contains high levels of growth factors. Since it's not a fully defined component, it may vary in composition between different batches.

Bovine serum alternatives such as engineered serum products are high-performing replacements for FBS derived from fetal cows. They have several naturally occurring factors that help promote growth.

What are the types of bovine serum alternatives?

We offer several engineered serum and alternatives to match your unique needs. They include:

  • Alpha Calf Fraction: Produced from bovine calf serum, this is a cost-effective medium supplement. It’s produced using a proprietary nonethanol process that minimizes immunoglobulin and protein levels to mimic FBS. This product contains low antibodies and high levels of growth factors to support antibody production in hybridoma cells.
  • FetalClone products: These are a blend of bovine calf serum, nutrients, and supplements. FetalClone products provide comparable performance to FBS. Several products are available, each optimized to work with different cell lines like hybridomas, MRC-5, BHK-21, and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO).