Serum-Free Media (SFM)
Life Technologies is the world’s largest manufacturer of serum-free cell culture media and leads in the way in the development of innovative specialty media, including serum-free media options.
Select from our line of serum-free media
Our serum-free media promote superior cell growth and viability
Serum-free media (SFM) are important tools that allow researchers to grow a specific cell type or perform a specific application in the absence of serum.
Advantages of using serum-free media include:
- Easier purification and downstream processing
- Precise evaluations of cellular function
- Increased definition
- More consistent performance
- Increased growth and/or productivity
- Better control over physiological responsiveness
- Enhanced detection of cellular mediators
Things to Consider in Serum-Free Culture
Overall, cells in serum-free culture are more sensitive to extremes of pH, temperature, osmolality, mechanical forces, and enzyme treatment. Read the Guide to Serum-Free Cell Culture.
It is best not to use antibiotics in serum-free media. If you do, we recommend that you use 5- to 10-fold less than you would in a serum- supplemented medium. This is because serum proteins tend to bind a certain amount of the antibiotic added; without these serum proteins the level of antibiotic may be toxic to certain cells.
Cells must be in the mid-logarithmic phase of growth with viability >90% prior to adaptation. Sequential adaptation may be necessary.
Seeding cultures at a higher density than normal at each passage during SFM adaptation may help the process. Because some percentage of cells may not survive in the new culture environment, having more cells present will increase the number of viable cells to further passage.
Cell clumping often occurs during adaptation to SFM. We recommend that you gently triturate the clumps to break them up when passaging cells.
It is not uncommon to see slight changes in cellular morphology during and after adaptation to SFM. As long as doubling times and viability remain good, slight changes in morphology should not be a reason for concern.