AAT Bioquest

What are the limitations of serum-free media?

Posted November 6, 2023


One disadvantage is that it requires complex formulations when trying to create the mixture of growth factor, nutrients, and hormones found in serum. Another disadvantage is the slow growth compared to media containing serum to induce the growth of cells. Serum-free media requires a higher level of reagent purity and thus, pure grade reagents and sterile techniques should always be used to ensure higher cell viability. Another disadvantage is that serum-free media are more expensive than serum added to media. This is because the chemicals added to the media are expensive, and also harder to obtain. Additionally, a high number of serum-free media need to be produced for different cell lines, which can cause issues when doing experiments with multiple cell lines. Separate media may be required even for the same cell line because serum-free medium media may not be compatible with various stages of development.  

Additional resources

Optimization of Key Factors in Serum Free Medium for Production of Human Recombinant GM-CSF Using Response Surface Methodology

Cell Proliferation Assays

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