Protocol Online logo
Top : Forum Archives: : Cell Biology

Serum for aminal cell culture - understanding concepts (Jul/30/2005 )

Hi all,

I have a fundamental question in amimal cell culture science.

Use of serum in growth media is usually recommended for animal cell cultivation. Types of Serum commercially available are either "heat inactivated" or "not heat inactivated". Some of the cell lines have specific requirement for either heat inactivated or not heat inactivated serum.

What is the difference between the two types of sera in terms of its efficacy?

Why some cell lines prefer one type of serum over the other?

what is the basis behind this concept of use of heat inactivated and not heat inactivated serum?

If any one knows, pls reply.



Serum is a very complex supplement containing mostly proteins but also growth factors, hormones, amino acids, sugars, trypsin inhibitors, and lipids. The most common types of sera include fetal bovine (FBS), newborn calf (NCS), horse (equine), pig (porcine), and human. FBS has been adopted as the standard supplement because of its rich content of growth factors and its low gamma globulin content.

Because serum is a blood product, it contains complement which can lead to complement-mediated cell lysis. Heat inactivation of serum is performed to inactivate complement. Generally, immunological studies warrant the need for heat inactiviation of the serum.

During the inactivation, the temperature and duration should not exceed 56.3°C and 30 minutes, respectively. Overheating or periods of heat longer than 30 minutes may compromise the integrity of growth factors, amino acids, and vitamins in the serum. Heat inactivation may also cause the proteins and lipids concentrated at the bottom to gel; constant swirling during the heat inactivation process will prevent the appearance of these white globules. Serum compromised by improper heat inactivation may adversely affect the growth of cells in culture.

Hope you get your answer.