Fetal bovine serum (FBS), also known as fetal calf serum (FCS), is a commonly used cell culture media supplement. It supplies growth factors, hormones, vitamins, and other nutrients that can support the proliferation and viability of cells in culture. The range of these factors provided by FBS enables the culture of a wide variety of cell types that may have uncharacterized culture requirements. Heat inactivation of FBS destroys potentially detrimental complement proteins while retaining the growth-promoting properties of the serum. Specialty grades of FBS are optimized for the culture of particular cell types such as hybridomas, embryonic stem cells, tetracycline-controlled expression systems, and hormone dependent cells for insulin- and estrogen-related research. Manufacturers of FBS control product variability by managing the raw material supply chain, adhering to consistent processing protocols, and rigorous testing to ensure low endotoxin, hemoglobin, and virus load. USDA-approved testing of FBS is important to certify the virus and disease safety of the source before importing animal material into the United States. USDA APHIS certification enables the use of our US origin serum for the manufacture and export of products outside of the USA.
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