insect cell media

Bio&SELL offers a broad range of insect cell culture media. Our insect cell culture portfolio includes Schneider's Drosophila medium with or without L-Glutamin as well as Grace's Insect TC medium. Furthermore we stock serum free cell culture systems like „SF-4 Insect medium serumfree" and TNM-FH medium with 10% heat-inactivated FCS.

Some media formulations are confidential, but if you have specific questions concerning our media formulations we are happy to provide you with more detailed information.

General information on insect cell culture:
In general, nutrient requirements of insect cells are comparable to those of vertebrate cells, but there are also some major differences. These differences need to be taken into consideration when designing insect cell culture media. The main alterations are listed below.


Bio&SELL insect cell culture media are supplemented with a source for cell membrane component formation metabolism and the steroid hormone ecdysone. This supplementation is necessary as insects lack the capacity of steroidgenesis. (Law and Wells, 1989).

Amino acids:

Since insect blood has a high level of amino acids, Bio&SELL media for insect cell culture also contain high levels of amino acids (Grace 1962, Weiss et al. 1981).

Organic acids:

Insect blood contains comparably high levels of free organic acids such as citrate, succinate, oxalate or malate and range from 0.1 – 30 mmoles per insect (Grace 1962, Vaughn 1968).

pH, buffer and pH indicator:

Compared to mammalian tissue fluids, insect tissue fluids are more acidic and normally range from 6.2-6.9 (Grace 1962). Therefore, Bio&SELL insect cell media have an optimal range for most insect cells between 6.2 – 6.5 (for mammalian cell culture media: 7.1-7.6). Our insect cell culture media are buffered with sodium phosphate, so that no CO2 is required for culturing. Insect cell culture media are free of pH indicators. Due to the supplementation of protein hydrolysates, the colour of Bio&SELL insect cell media is yellow.


The osmotic pressure in insect blood is more than twice as high as the osmotic pressure in vertebrate blood (Vaughn 1968). For this reason, Bio&SELL insect cell culture media exhibit a significantly higher osmolality (340-390 mOsmol/kg) than mammalian cell culture media (290-330 mOsmol/kg).

Glutamine, Glucose:

Bio&SELL insect cell culture media contain high levels of Glutamine and Glucose to support high cell densities growth. This is possible, because of the distinct Glutamine and Glucose metabolism pathways of insects which, in contrast to mammalian metabolism pathways, allow the use of higher concentrations (reviewed in : Schläger, 1996).