As stated earlier, FBS is rife with a myriad of protein components that contribute in complex ways to the stimulation of growth in a cultured cell. However, this complex pattern of interference can be difficult to disentangle, and can therefore result in unwanted stimulation. In signaling studies, one technique that has been widely deployed to address this challenge is the serum starvation of cells for a certain time prior to the commencement of an experiment. This technique is especially of great use in experiments in which it is imperative to measure the imperceptible changes in a cell’s cytokine expression.

Another technique designed to tackle the unwanted stimulations of unidentified proteins is the use of charcoal stripped FBS which supplies tampered levels of stimulation, but which nonetheless provides the adequate proportion of growth factors necessary for wholesome cell development.