To ATCC Valued Customers,

ATCC stands ready to support our customers’ needs during the coronavirus pandemic. If you experience any issues with your products or services, please contact ATCC Customer Service at For Technical questions please contact Thank you.


FAQ Home

Find Answers

Heat-inactivating serum
What is the purpose of heat-inactivating serum?

Heat-inactivation (heating to 56°C for 30 minutes) is done to inactivate complement, a group of proteins present in sera that are part of the immune response. This is sometimes important for cells that will be used to prepare or assay viruses, or cells that are used in cytotoxicity assays or other systems where complement may have an unwanted influence.  Heat-inactivation is also recommended for growing embryonic stem cells [p. 75 in Rudnicki, M.A., and McBurney, M.W. (1987) Teratocarcinomas and Embryonic Stem Cells - A Practical Approach (IRL Press Ltd., Oxford)] as well as for many insect cell lines (Weiss, S.A., et al. (1995). Meth. Mol. Biol. 39:65).

Heat has also been used to destroy mycoplasma in serum. However, because most serum suppliers filter through 0.1 µm filters to remove mycoplasma before distribution, this is not usually necessary.

ATCC does not routinely heat-inactivate serum unless specifically noted in the medium formulation for a specific cell culture. Heat inactivation will reduce or destroy serum growth factors, and should only be done when there is a compelling reason.

Date Created07/17/2012 07:10 PM
Date Updated03/27/2014 08:40 PM

Most Popular Answers

  1. Huh7 cell line
  2. ATCC HUVEC lines
  3. Passage number vs. population doubling level (PDL)
  4. Converting TCID[50] to plaque forming units (PFU)
  5. U-373 MG (ATCC® HTB-17)