Serum-free media were used to culture Plasmodium falciparum. A commercial preparation, Daigo's GF21 developed as a growth-promoting factor for many kinds of mammalian cells, and consisting of the 55–70% ammonium sulphate fraction of adult bovine serum, insulin, transferrin, ethanolamine and sodium selenite, was found to sustain growth of the parasite when Daigo's T was employed as a basal medium. The optimal Daigo's GF21 concentration for parasite growth was between 5 and 20% (v/v), with the best results at 10%. Differential counts indicated that Daigo's GF21 is essential for schizogony. Established serum-free medium, GIT, consisting of Daigo's T basal medium and Daigo's GF21, yielded good parasite growth without any supplementation. Growth-promoting factor derived from adult bovine serum in Daigo's GF21 was shown to be crucial to parasite growth. The results presented here will not only be of practical value, but will provide important information about the developmental requirements for the parasite.
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