Originally Published by GEN, written by K. John Morrow Jr., PhD
From its initial development back in the 1950s, cell culture media development has been plagued by impurities, often present in small quantities, difficult to characterize, and trace back to their origins. Classically, culture media have required the addition of animal serum, which serves a nutritional function, but also may absorb and bind up trace impurities that may be inhibitory to cell growth.
However, with higher purity reagents and better characterization it has been possible to concoct a large range of different serum-free media, of special value when proteins synthesized by engineered cells need to be purified from their resident media. This means that it is even more critical to trace minor impurities in culture media.