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Newborn Bovine Serum - Is this false economy? (Mar/30/2009 )

Does anyone have experience using Newborn Bovine Serum instead of FBS?
It is only a fraction of the cost of FBS so I was thinking of trying it for some of my more robust cells/assays.


Serum is the product of clotted blood. Blood clots form in response to a cutaneous wound. The growth factors derived from platelet degranulation (primarily PDGF, but also TGF-beta, IGF, FGF, EGF, etc.) are what make your tissue culture cells grow. These factors also drive the early stages of wound healing. Fetal wounds heal more quickly than adult ones, and without scarring. One of the reasons for this is hypothesized to be that the cells activated by fetal serum grow more quickly than those of adults, due to a different balance of cytokines. Thus cells grow more quickly in FCS than in NBCS where they tend to grow bigger and slower.
FCS is the only one of the three that does not contain antibodies.
ECM factors, such as fibronectin, are also present in serum.
-Heat treatment inactivates complement and should always be done with FCS!

These cytokines are not present in BSA.


-Minnie Mouse-

Many thanks. I had come across papers which used either serum or a mix of serum sources but very little on the rational for the particular choice and what changes this makes to assay outcomes.
Anyway, it may all be a mute point because after I posted the question I realised that a major change in media will cause too much managerial asperity and it would be best to maintain continuity with what has gone before.