Fetal bovine serum (FBS), also known as fetal calf serum, offers essential nutrients and growth factors for the maintenance and growth of cultured cells. Cell-based applications are an integral part of basic research, biochemical studies, vaccine development, and drug discovery to name a few. FBS is the most used serum in cell-based applications as it provides the most robust culture system for the widest range of cell types.

Since 1962, Gibco FBS products have been a global market leader. Through Thermo Fisher Scientific’s unwavering commitment to quality, scientists using Gibco FBS have been provided with consistent reliability, service, value, and innovation. Discover the performance differences that Gibco Fetal Bovine Serum can deliver for your research and production.

Find the Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) solution for your application

We provide a simplified three-tiered offering—Gibco Value FBS, Premium FBS, and Premium Plus FBS—where each category is clearly delineated by relevant performance markers and testing levels to help ensure you can confidently select the right serum for your research.

Gibco Value FBS bottle

Value FBS

Designed for consistent growth for robust cell lines used within all standard cell culture research applications. Our Value FBS products offer excellent value with up to 30 quality specification tests.

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Order HI Value FBS

Gibco Premium FBS bottle

Premium FBS

Offers consistent growth for a broad range of cells. Our most popular FBS product providing high quality and exceptional value with up to 60 quality specification tests.

Order Premium FBS

Order HI Premium FBS

Gibco Premium Plus FBS bottle

Premium Plus FBS

Offers consistent growth for sensitive cells. Our highest quality FBS with up to 70 quality specification tests, including lowest levels of endotoxin and hemoglobin release specifications.

Order Premium Plus FBS

Order HI Premium Plus FBS

Gibco Specialty FBS bottle

Specialty FBS

Designed for specific experimental needs and sensitive cell culture, including stem cell research, cancer research, reporter assays, immunoassays, antibodies, and more.

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Performance based on science, not geography

Specifications, not origin, help drive consistent performance. We commissioned an independent research group to survey more than 500 researchers around the globe. This is what we learned:

  • Only 7% of FBS users believe that country of origin is the most important indicator of FBS quality.
  • Almost 80% said they would purchase from categories that were clearly delineated by quality indicators (i.e., endotoxin, hemoglobin, growth performance, virus testing, etc.) that matter to their research.

Based on these findings, we transformed our Gibco FBS portfolio into categories focused on quality indicators rather than origin; Value FBS, Premium FBS, and Premium Plus FBS. Now you can easily select the best sera for your needs based on how they perform, not where they came from. This also enables us to minimize supply disruption since there is less reliance on origin.

The benefits of our performance-based categories

  • Dependable supply—more supply through origin flexibility assists in minimizing supply disruption
  • Performance consistency—more supply means more customer choice and more lots with the specifications they desire
  • Product continuity—remove the hassle of updating protocols, which can be based on specifications, the true performance driver, and not part numbers

Explore our Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) quality control release criteria for Value FBS, Premium FBS, and Premium Plus FBS

Quality profileValue
Premium FBSPremium Plus FBS
Endotoxin ≤20 EU/mL≤10 EU/mL≤5 EU/mL
Haemoglobin/hemoglobin ≤25 mg/dL≤25 mg/dL≤20 mg/dL
Sterility: bacterial and fungal testing
Mycoplasma: supplemental testing (H-stain)
Country of origin
Oritain™ testing (origin confirmation)
Biochemical and hormonal profile
Biochemical: Alkaline phosphatase, ALT, AST, bicarbonate, bilirubin (total), BUN, BUN/creatinine ratio, calcium, chloride, cholesterol, creatinine, GGPT, glucose, HDL, iron, iron saturation, LDH, LDL, phosphorous (inorganic), potassium, sodium, TIBC, triglycerides (TG), uric acid
Hormonal: Estradiol, insulin, progesterone, testosterone, thyroxine (T4)
Virus testing
Serology: BVDV serum neutralization titer (Ab)
Serology: Anti-BVDV antibody test (EMA lots only)
Virus (9CFR): Bluetongue Virus, Bovine Adenovirus, Bovine Parvovirus, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus, Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV), Rabies Virus, Reo Virus
Cytopathogenic Agents - Including Bovine Herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1/IBR)
Haemadsorbing Agents - Including Bovine Parainfluenza Virus 3 (PI-3)
Virus (EMA): Bluetongue Virus, Bovine Adenovirus, Bovine Parvovirus, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus, Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV), Rabies Virus, Reo Virus
Cytopathogenic Agents- Including Bovine Herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1/IBR)
Haemadsorbing Agents- Including Bovine Parainfluenza Virus 3 (PI-3)
USDA safety testing: Bluetongue virus (Mexican and Australian origin)✓ (Mexican only) ✓ (Australian only) 
USDA safety testing: Akabane virus (Australian only)✓ (Australian only)
Protein electrophoresis
Identification:Electrophoretic profile
Identification: Bovine gamma globulin (≤500 mg/L) 
Protein: Albumin, alpha globulin, beta globulin, total protein
Performance testing
Relative growth promotion (RGP), relative cloning efficiency (RCE), relative plating efficiency (RPE)
Certificate of Suitability (TSE CEP)

Important to note that our FBS is sourced from BSE-negligible countries

Gibco Fetal Bovine Serum cross-reference tool

The Gibco Fetal Bovine Serum cross reference tool can be used to find a direct
replacement for other serum suppliers.

Find your replacement

Discover heat-inactivated and One Shot fetal bovine serum (FBS)

Video: What should you consider when selecting FBS for cell culture?

Learn what scientists consider some of the most important factors in selecting fetal bovine serum for mammalian cell culture.

Customer story: using Gibco FBS for cell culture

Learn how Fanny at Institut Curie in Paris uses FBS to culture cells, supporting studies of cell mechanisms and behaviors.

Animal group photo
Other animal sera

Did you know there are lower-cost alternatives to fetal bovine serum? These products include bovine serum, horse serum, newborn calf serum, goat serum, rabbit serum, porcine serum, and chicken serum.

Explore other animal sera

Gibco Sera for Bioprocessing
Sera for bioprocessing

Gibco sera for bioprocessing can support your cell culture needs as you scale up production. As one of the largest serum suppliers from BSE-negligible risk regions, Gibco serum can help meet biopharmaceutical manufacturing requirements.

Learn more about sera for bioprocessing

Featured resources and product help for fetal bovine serum

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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.

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Fetal Bovine Serum Basics
Learn the basics of FBS for cell culture, including information on the FBS uses, components, and the market dynamics driving this industry.

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

Gibco iMatch Sera Lot Matching Tool 
Provide your previous Gibco FBS lot number or answer a few questions to find your ideal serum match.

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Find your regional sales representative
Connect with a regional FBS sales representative.

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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For Research Use or Further Manufacturing Use only. Serum and blood proteins are not for direct administration into humans or animals.

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