Composition of protein supplements used for human embryo culture

Dean E. Morbeck, Melissa Paczkowski, Jolene R. Fredrickson, Rebecca L. Krisher, Heather S. Hoff, Nikola A. Baumann, Thomas Moyer, Dietrich Matern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the composition of commercially available protein supplements for embryo culture media and test if differences in protein supplement composition are biologically relevant in a murine model.

Methods: Amino acid, organic acid, ion and metal content were determined for 6 protein supplements: recombinant human albumin (AlbIX), human serum albumin (HSA and Buminate), and three complex protein supplements (SSS, SPS, LGPS). To determine if differences in the composition of these supplements are biologically relevant, mouse one-cell embryos were collected and cultured for 120 hours in each protein supplement in Global media at 5 and 20 % oxygen in an EmbryoScope time-lapse incubator. The compositions of six protein supplements were analyzed for concentrations of 39 individual amino acids, organic acids, ions and elements. Blastocyst development and cell cycle timings were calculated at 96-hours of culture and the experiments were repeated in triplicate. Blastocyst gene expression was analyzed.

Results: Recombinant albumin had the fewest undefined components , the lowest concentration of elements detected, and resulted in high blastocyst development in both 5 and 20 % oxygen. Buminate, LGPS and SPS had high levels of transition metals whereas SSS had high concentrations of amino acids. Pre-compaction mouse embryo development was delayed relative to embryos in AlbIX for all supplements and blastocyst formation was reduced in Buminate, SPS and SSS.

Conclusions: The composition of protein supplements are variable, consisting of previously undescribed components. High concentrations of pro-oxidant transition metals were most notable. Blastocyst development was protein dependent and showed an interaction with oxygen concentration and pro-oxidant supplements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1703-1711
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2014


  • Albumin
  • Embryo culture
  • Mouse embryo assay
  • Protein
  • Quality control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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