History and Usage of Fetal Bovine Serum
Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) is a critical supplement used in tissue culture, particularly in the fields of cell biology, drug discovery, and scientific research. Harvested from the blood of fetal bovines, FBS contains a rich profile of nutrients, hormones, growth factors, and proteins that support the growth and maintenance of mammalian cells in vitro.
The history of using FBS in tissue culture dates back to the mid-20th century. Early on, scientists recognized the need for a suitable medium that could mimic the in vivo environment, thus fostering cell growth in the lab. Fetal bovine serum, due to its nutrient-rich nature and optimal growth-promoting properties, became the gold standard for this purpose. As tissue culture techniques evolved, the importance of FBS became even more apparent, as it enhanced cell proliferation, viability, and functionality.
Tissue culture, at its core, aims to maintain or grow cells outside their natural environment, usually in a controlled setting. In many cases, without supplements like FBS, cells would not survive or grow properly. FBS provides essential elements for tissue culture, including amino acids, vitamins, and protective agents. Its application spans across various disciplines, including cancer research, virology, pharmacology, and regenerative medicine.
However, the use of FBS in tissue culture has not been without criticism. Ethical concerns arise from the method of its collection, given its origin from fetal bovines. Alternatives to FBS have been explored, but many of these alternatives often don’t provide the complete set of nutrients and factors that cells need, making FBS still widely used.
Moreover, inconsistencies between different batches of FBS can pose challenges. Different batches might have variations in their composition, which can lead to inconsistencies in experimental results. To mitigate this, researchers often source FBS from reputable suppliers, test its performance in specific tissue culture applications, and use serum from the same batch across experiments.
In conclusion, Fetal Bovine Serum has played an instrumental role in the advancement of tissue culture methodologies. Its rich composition provides cells with the necessary nutrients to thrive in vitro, making it indispensable in various research domains. Despite its controversies and challenges, FBS remains a cornerstone in tissue culture, underscoring the balance between scientific progress and ethical considerations.