Supplements for Cell Culture

Cell culture supplements enable labs to customize and augment media formulations to suit specific cell culture applications such as protein production, hybridoma production, CHO (Chinese hamster ovary) cell applications, other serum-free workflows, and more. The cell culture- and insect cell culture-tested supplements collected here have undergone application testing for suitability in cell culture systems. This testing eliminates the need for labs to screen these supplements prior to use in a cell culture application.

ITS Supplements

Serum-free and reduced-serum cell culture media formulations often require supplementation with the factors normally present in serum that are required for healthy culture growth. ITS reagent is used as a basal supplement when the goal is to reduce or eliminate the use of fetal bovine serum (FBS) in culture media, when culture media must be animal origin-free, or to tailor nutrients and their concentrations for specific cell culture applications. ITS is named for the constituent nutrients insulin, transferrin, and selenium. Variants on this nutrient cocktail include SITE (selenium, insulin, transferrin, ethanolamine), and enhanced formulations that may also incorporate linoleic acid, oleic acid, and/or bovine serum albumin (BSA).

The biological function of key constituent ingredients in ITS and its variants are as follows:

  • Insulin is a polypeptide hormone that promotes the cellular uptake of glucose and amino acids
  • Transferrin is an iron-transport protein. An essential trace element, iron can be toxic in its free form. To supplement cells in culture, iron is supplied bound to transferrin.
  • Selenium/sodium selenite is an essential trace element normally present in serum.
  • Ethanolamine is a fatty acid that contributes significantly to the proliferation of hybridoma cells. It is frequently added to supplements to optimize media for hybridoma culture.
  • Sodium pyruvate provides an additional carbon source for certain culture systems.

Hybridoma Reagents

Traditional methods for monoclonal antibody production have relied upon the use of medium supplemented with serum of animal origin. When these antibodies are employed for research or in vitro diagnostic applications, the presence of serum does not pose significant regulatory concerns, and efforts to develop serum-free media have focused primarily on cost reduction. As antibodies are increasingly used as biotherapeutics, the need for media and reagents that ensure robust hybridoma culture without the use of sera and other animal products has increased.

Our Hybri-Max™ supplements are culture-tested for optimal performance in hybridoma culture. These and other hybridoma-designated supplements support robust culture in monoclonal antibody labs.

Amino Acids, Antibiotics, and Other Cell Culture Supplements

Our cell culture-tested amino acid supplements include both polyamine reagents and individual amino acids that enable custom enrichment of cell culture media formulations. Our complete culture supplement solutions include cholesterol, lactoferrin, linoleic acid, glucagon, cyclodextrin, yeast extracts, antioxidants, vitamins, antibiotics, and more.


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