Serum-free media for the growth of primary bovine myoblasts

A. M. Kolkmann, M. J. Post*, M. A. M. Rutjens, A. L. M. van Essen, P. Moutsatsou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The demand for meat is expected to exceed production capacity by livestock in the coming decennia. Therefore, cultured beef might be a viable alternative to traditional livestock-derived beef. One of the problems however is the sustainability of cultured beef through the use of fetal bovine serum. We aimed to identify a serum-free medium or a serum-replacement that is as effective as the current method used for culturing bovine myoblasts. Cells were harvested from a female Blanc Bleu Belge cow and myoblasts were subsequently isolated. Cells were cultured in either Advanced DMEM containing 20% FBS and 10% HS or one of the chemically-defined, serum-free media for 6 days. MTS was used as a measure of cell proliferation at day 1, 4 or 6 and microscopic pictures were taken to assess cell morphology. FBM (TM), TesR (TM) and Essential 8 (TM) are commercially available xeno-free media developed for human PSCs and fibroblasts, with the highest potential to sustain bovine myoblast proliferation. Of the supplements tested, XenoFree (TM) and a custom-prepared growth factor mix failed to stimulate cell proliferation. LipoGro (TM) stimulated cell proliferation in some cases but also changed the phenotype of myoblasts to an adipocyte-like phenotype. We conclude that serum-free media stimulate exponential cell expansion, albeit not to the extent of the current growth medium containing up to 30% serum. Further research is needed to investigate whether prolonged cell culture or an adaptation period could further increase cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111–120
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Early online date28 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Myoblasts
  • Xeno-free media
  • Proliferation

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