Fetal Bovine Serum - Most Common Questions Answered

At SeraPrime, we receive many questions about our fetal bovine serum, including aspects of use, sourcing, collection, standards, and more. In the following article, we have compiled a comprehensive overview of the most common questions we receive along with their answers. For beginners and experts alike, read on for a deep dive into SeraPrime’s fetal bovine serum; if you don’t see your question here, check out our FAQ page for more information! 

What is Fetal Bovine Serum? 

Fetal bovine serum is the liquid fraction of clotted whole blood. Unlike plasma, no anticoagulant will have been added to the blood following collection from the animal. The serum is centrifuged to separate the clot from the liquid phase, resulting in a product that is depleted of cells, fibrin and clotting factors - the remaining serum is a rich source of proteins and growth factors that support cell growth in culture, particularly useful in research. 

What is in Fetal Bovine Serum? 

FBS contains over 1,000 different components, including:

  1. Electrolytes
  2. Nutrients and energy sources necessary for growth (e.g., vitamins, sugars)
  3. Factors providing buffering capacity/protection from pH shifts, proteases, and toxins
  4. Lipids
  5. Binding and transfer proteins
  6. Hormones
  7. Growth and attachment factors for cells
  8. Carriers
  9. Enzymes

What is Fetal Bovine Serum Used For? 

Fetal bovine serum is used extensively by both academic biology and industrial researchers as a supplement to basal growth medium in cell culture applications. It contains the large amount of nutrients that are required for successful cell growth. It is not meant for human and animal consumption. 

What are the Benefits of Using Fetal Bovine Serum? 

Fetal bovine serum allows for the rapid, consistent, and reproducible growth of cells while also decreasing the possibility of mammalian cells binding or lysing in the culture. FBS contains low levels of antibodies and other growth-inhibiting components. In addition to providing cells with many growth-enhancing factors (growth factors, hormones, nutrients, etc.), FBS can also protect cells from harmful disruptions, including:

  1. Large pH shifts
  2. Proteases
  3. Toxic agents
  4. Shear forces
  5. Agents that would typically break up monolayers of adherent cells (FBS acts to inactivate these agents)

What to Consider When Sourcing Fetal Bovine Serum? 

Fetal bovine serum products are not all produced to the same quality, so it is important for researchers and labs to keep a few key factors in mind when sourcing their FBS, including: 

  1. Product integrity 
  2. Price fluctuations
  3. Lot-to-lot consistency
  4. Ease of access and quantity of supply
  5. Reproducibility 

Does SeraPrime Ethically Collect Fetal Bovine Serum? 

SeraPrime ensures that all fetal bovine serum that is collected is done so in an ethical manner. This is possible due to the fact that SeraPrime only collects from facilities in the United States that are inspected and established, or from countries outside of the United States that are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with animal health inspections. SeraPrime also mandates individual documentation and pre-test inspections of all serums, including tests for endotoxins, hemoglobin, and viruses. 

What Filtration Measures Does SeraPrime Use? 

SeraPrime conducts sterile filtration at 2,000L capacity, using ISO class 7 Filtration Suite and triple 0.1um sterile filtration. SeraPrime exceeds all filtration standards. 

How Much Experience Does SeraPrime Have? 

With over 20 Years of industry expertise, SeraPrime has stood at the forefront of the serum industry, offering unparalleled expertise on a global scale.

How Fast Can SeraPrime Ship An Order? 

At SeraPrime, we aim to exceed your expectations with same-day service and shipping. Let us earn your support and build a long-lasting partnership with your lab as your trusted FBS and Serum source.

What Clients Does SeraPrime Work With? 

SeraPrime works with world-leading research institutions, including Stanford, St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and many more global customers. Contact our team to get a full list of our satisfied clients. 

What Product Treatments Does SeraPrime Offer? 

SeraPrime offers FBS products that have undergone additional treatment to support sensitive culture applications, available in any size.


Heat inactivation of serum is performed by raising the temperature of the serum to 56°C and maintaining that temperature for 30 minutes. Heat inactivation is the method of choice to destroy complement protein activity.

Gamma Irradiated

Gamma irradiation of serum is intended to assure the complete removal of a virus and or viral inactivation.  25-40kGy specifications or upon special request.

What Specialty Serum Does SeraPrime Offer? 

SeraPrime offers a selection of serum products designed for specialty applications and sensitive cell cultures, including stem cell research, cancer research, reporter assays, immunoassays, and more.


Charcoal and dextran are commonly used to remove hormones that can affect cell culture growth; growth assays using Vero cells.


Depleted of 2:90% of endogenous exosomes and is intended for use in cell culture exosome isolation assays. This is primarily intended for researchers who are interested in isolating exosomes from cultured cells without the complication of bovine exosomes that are present in standard FBS.


Lipid-depleted FBS reduces the Lipid-Depleted concentration of lipids (free fatty acids). This is intended for research applications where the normal concentration of lipids may interfere with cell growth.


Does not contain trace levels of tetracycline (or its derivatives) which have been observed to interfere with proper regulation of TRE-controlled gene expression. This is for researchers studying neuroscience, cancer research, drug screening, vaccine development, and gene editing.

What Standards and Traceability Does SeraPrime Guarantee? 

SeraPrime adheres to critical quality systems that utilize specialized and verified SOP’s.   Annual detailed audits throughout each stage of the collection and manufacturing process at approved facilities. In conjunction with collaborations, we ensure full traceability from raw materials to finished products along with all components used throughout manufacturing to exceed the highest industry standards US and Globally.

  1. We classify and test products before shipment to customers all over the world. 
  2. Each lot/batch includes a full Certificate of Analysis and reported data.
  3. We can trace raw materials back to the original supplier, USDA-licensed abattoirs, and the geographical location collected.
  4. Our vertical integration system provides origin certification and full sera traceability.

How to Learn More About Storage, Thawing, and Viruses? 

If you would like to learn more about storage and thawing information or get more details about bovine viruses, FBS origins, and precipitates, we have even more answers for you on our FAQ page. SeraPrime strives to continue supplying only the highest quality fetal bovine serum, and we look forward to building a lifelong partnership with you and your laboratory. Contact our team today to get started with a free sample!

yellow wave pattern
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram