Bottle containing Minimum Essential Medium (MEM)

Culture your cells with Gibco Minimum Essential Medium

Gibco Minimum Essential Media (MEM), patterned after Eagle’s Media, is one of the most commonly used of all cell culture media and is well suited for the growth of a broad spectrum of mammalian cells. Compared to the earlier Basal Medium Eagle (BME), MEM is formulated with increased concentrations of amino acids. Today there are many other MEM formulations available, including Glasgow’s MEM, MEM α, DMEM, and Temin’s Modification.

MEM can be used with a variety of suspension and adherent mammalian cells, including HeLa, BHK-21, 293, HEP-2, HT-1080, MCF-7, fibroblasts, and primary rat astrocytes.

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MEM composition

Minimum Essential Medium (MEM) contains a higher concentration of amino acids than Basal Medium Eagle (BME). MEM media may be formulated with Earle’s salts for maintenance of pH in a CO2 incubator, or Hanks’ salts for maintenance of pH in atmospheric conditions. Because MEM media lacks proteins, lipids, or growth factors, it commonly requires supplementation with fetal bovine serum (FBS).

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a variety of MEM modifications for a range of cell culture applications—view an example of a detailed MEM formulation here. Learn about additional MEM formulation options using our Cell Culture Media Formulation Tool.

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Choose the right Minimum Essential Medium

There are several factors to consider when selecting the right Gibco MEM composition for your cell culture experiments, including format, supplementation, and additives. Our interactive media formulation tool provides side-by-side comparisons of MEM media formulations, allowing for easy selection of the MEM you need. Select the following modifications:

  • L-glutamine / GlutaMAX supplementation
  • Phenol red indicator
  • Liquid vs powder formats
  • Serum supplementation
  • Sodium pyruvate additive
  • Glucose additive
  • HEPES additive
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Innovative MEM formulations

Take your cell culture to the next level with enhanced MEM formulations. Explore the following formulations that can help improve your cell viability, serum supplementation, transfection experiments, and cold storage constraints.

Bottle of Advanced MEM

Advanced MEM

Gibco Advanced MEM is formulated with ingredients that allow for the reduction of serum supplementation by 50–90%, supporting cell growth while lowering your costs and reducing variability caused by lot-to-lot serum changes. 

Bottle of Opti-MEM Reduced Serum Medium

Opti-MEM Reduced Serum Medium

Gibco Opti-MEM Reduced Serum Media, formulated for a reduction in serum supplementation by at least 50%, is ideal for use during cationic lipid transfection—especially with Invitrogen Lipofectamine transfection reagents.

Bottle and kit of BenchStable MEM

BenchStable MEM

Gibco BenchStable MEM is formulated for storage at room temperature, freeing up valuable cold storage space while supporting cellular proliferation and densities comparable to conventional MEM.

Bottle of MEM with GlutaMAX Supplement

MEM with GlutaMAX supplement

Gibco MEM with GlutaMAX supplement supplies your cells with a stable form of L-glutamine that does not spontaneously degrade in cell culture, improving cell health and viability by reducing the accumulation of toxic ammonia.

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Customize your MEM media

If you require a custom MEM formulation for your cell culture experiments, our media customization services can provide you with the media you need, including custom components, packaging, and QC testing.

Explore services for MEM customization

cell culture media icon GMP manufacturing

Gibco cell culture products are manufactured in facilities compliant with current good manufacturing practices (GMP) and adhere to a robust quality management system, helping to ensure the consistency, reliability, and high quality you can rely on.

Learn more about GMP manufacturing

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We are committed to delivering products that serve the research needs of our customers, while striving to develop them in a way that minimizes our use of natural resources and our impact on the environment.

Learn more about sustainable solutions


Cell Culture & Transfection Learning Center
Access cell culture and transfection educational resources for better experiment planning and execution.

Gibco Cell Culture Basics
Learn the fundamentals of cell culture for achieving consistent results, including laboratory setup, safety, and aseptic techniques.

Media Formulation Tool
Find the right Gibco media formulation for DMEM, DMEM/F-12, MEM, and RPMI-1640 media.

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Cell Culture & Transfection Support Center
Find technical support recommendations for your cell culture and transfection workflows, including tips for experimental setup and in-depth troubleshooting help.

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