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Determining whether media contains serum or not? - (Mar/26/2012 )


Is anyone aware of any way to determine whether an unmarked bottle of media contains serum or not?

Several unmarked bottles have appeared in our fridge over the past few weeks and as a result noone is certain what is in them. Obviously, due to the costs involved we do not wish to throw the bottles away and so if anyone is aware of a simple way to solve this problem their help would be gratefully appreciated!

Many thanks,




Just shake bottle bit vigrously,

Just check for Foaming.

As serum is the main cause for foaming.

If you can see foam, Yes then it has Serum.

Regards ,


Golden rule: if in any doubt whatsoever, don't use the media/reagent/chemical/aliquot. My practice is use what I myself prepared. Unless if you really trust others in your lab in the area of making aliquots/solution etc.

-science noob-

Perhaps you can try take a sample and run media that you know that hasn't been added with serum and your unknown media with protein content assay. Media containing serum turns positive in Bradford assay instantly.


Obviously I don't know what type of media you are using, but if it is a basic media (RPMI, DMEM, etc) then they are dirt cheap so I would just throw it away and not trust it.

As science noob said, if in doubt, don't trust it. In our lab we only use media we have made up personally, or perhaps borrow someone elses if you only know exactly what they have put in it.

Unlabelled bottles/tubes/anything are the scourge of every lab.


philman on Mon Apr 2 10:28:04 2012 said:

Unlabelled bottles/tubes/anything are the scourge of every lab.

So true.

As the others have said "if in doubt, chuck it out"