, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 791–793 | Cite as

A plea to reduce or replace fetal bovine serum in cell culture media

  • Gerhard GstraunthalerEmail author
  • Toni Lindl
  • Jan van der Valk
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

Fetal bovine serum (FBS) is a universal growth supplement of cell and tissue culture media. FBS is a natural cocktail of most of the factors required for cell attachment, growth, and proliferation, effective for most types of human and animal (including insect) cells. Although in use for more than 50 years, FBS has never been fully characterized. Recent proteomic and metabolomic studies revealed approx. 1,800 proteins (Anderson and Anderson 2002; Anderson et al. 2004) and more than 4,000 metabolites (Psychogios et al. 2011) present in serum. However, the use of serum in cell culture also bears a number of disadvantages. These disadvantages can either be seen from: (a) a scientific, cell biological point of view, since serum in general is an ill-defined mixture of components in culture media, with qualitative and quantitative, geographical and seasonal batch-to-batch variations, (b) from biosafety aspects, since FBS may contain adverse factors, like endotoxin,...


Fetal Bovine Serum Tissue Culture Medium Mouth Disease Corrin Dairy Product Consumption 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Gstraunthaler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Toni Lindl
    • 2
  • Jan van der Valk
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of PhysiologyInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Institut für Angewandte ZellkulturMunichGermany
  3. 3.3Rs—Center Utrecht Life SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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