Essential 8 Medium—Routine PSC Expansion and Maintenance

Gibco Essential 8 Medium is a feeder-free, xeno-free medium originally developed in the laboratory of stem cell research pioneer James Thomson. Essential 8 Medium is defined and only contains the eight essential components needed to grow and expand pluripotent stem cells (PSCs).

  • Consistent—reduced variability compared to conventional feeder-free culture media
  • Cost effective—economical and scalable PSC culture compared to other feeder-free culture media
  • Robust—reliable and consistent cultures with a xeno-free, cGMP-defined medium

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Gibco PSC Media are manufactured according to cGMP for medical devices, 21 CFR Part 820

The original Essential 8 Medium

Many feeder-free stem cell media contain 20 or more components in their formulations. While these media may adequately grow and maintain PSCs, these additional components can introduce unwanted variability, and these formulations commonly exhibit lot-to-lot inconsistencies.

By removing undefined proteins (such as BSA) and other components and including only the ingredients necessary for PSC culture, Essential 8 Medium helps minimize variability in culture. Additionally, Essential 8 Medium is manufactured under cGMP conditions, a further safeguard against lot-to-lot variability that minimizes the risk of variable outcomes and unintended cell differentiation.

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Customer testimonial

"Essential 8 Medium does exactly what you need it do. And because it is so simple, it can be made in a more controlled way."Emile Nuwaysir, Ph.D., Cellular Dynamics International

Routine PSC expansion and maintenance

Proven to maintain pluripotency in multiple iPSC lines, Essential 8 Medium has been used to scale up production of iPSCs—supporting iPSC growth for >50 passages with no signs of karyotypic abnormalities and maintaining the ability of iPSCs to differentiate into all three germ line lineages.


iPSC Morphology—iPSCs cultured in Essential 8 medium on vitronectin at P4.

iPSC colony stained for Tra-1-60 expression (red).

Staining—Tra-1-60 staining of iPSCs cultured in Essential 8 medium on vitronectin at P13.

Three flow cytometry histograms showing TRA-1-81, SSEA4, and Oct4 marker expression in an iPSC line.

iPSCs grown on Essential 8 Medium maintain pluripotency and retain normal karyotype. CDI iPSC line shown here at p18 on Essential 8 Medium and Vitronectin.

Complete media system

The following components are recommended to create a complete media system for routine expansion and maintenance of PSCs with Essential 8 Medium.

Essential 8 Protocol

Culture medium


Passaging reagent

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.