Fetal bovine serum (FBS)
or fetal calf serum (spelled foetal in Commonwealth English) is the blood fraction remaining after the natural coagulation of blood, followed by centrifugation to remove any remaining red blood cells. Fetal bovine serum comes from the blood drawn from a bovine fetus via a closed system of collection at the slaughterhouse. Fetal bovine serum is the most widely used serum-supplement for the in vitro cell culture of eukaryotic cells. This is due to it having a very low level of antibodies and containing more growth factors, allowing for versatility in many different cell culture applications.
The raw material of fetal bovine serum is fetal bovine blood. The FBS suppliers make contract with beef processer or agent and gather fetal bovine blood at certain time. The production of FBS is quite seasonal because the raw material source can only be acquired twice a year. The primary factor and main market-driver is the beef processing industry, since FBS is produced as a byproduct of this industry. Since 2014, the price of FBS has been raising quickly due to multiple factors, among which, the climate change and reduced cattle inventory might be the most important ones.
The manufacturers of FBS are concentrated in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South America. The growth of FBS production has been modest for the past years, due to the deficiency of raw material supply. In 2018, the global sales volume of FBS has reached 632482 liters. The market of FBS is concentrated. Thermo Fisher is the largest manufacturer in the global, followed by GE Healthcare and Merck. The consumption regions and supply regions of FBS are quite different. The consumers are mainly concentrated in USA and Europe, followed by Japan.
The primary application of FBS is to fortify cell culture media. It is the most common media supplement used for cell culture. Considering end use, the application of FBS can be classified as scientific research and industrial production. The development of biomedical and healthcare industry has been witnessed with rapid development for the past years. Consequently, though sera industry has experienced substantial changes for the past years, the demand of FBS has been creeping. We estimate that FBS would not be replaced by substitute in short time, but suppliers in emerging market are in taking an increasing share, like Lanzhou Minhai and Zhejiang Tianhang Biotechnology.
The FBS price of different brands varies from each other greatly due to the difference of fetal bovine blood origins and filtration technology. For the coming years, the supply of FBS would also be stable due the sluggish of world beef industry development. Owing to the rigid demand of stem cell research and production, and vaccine and drug research, the price of FBS would be estimated with lifting in the coming years.