Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The complement cascade includes heat-labile proteins and care is required when handling serum in order to preserve its functional integrity. We have previously used a whole human serum bactericidal assay to show that antibody and an intact complement system are required in blood for killing of invasive isolates of Salmonella. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the conditions under which human serum can be stored and manipulated while maintaining complement integrity. Serum bactericidal activity against Salmonella was maintained for a minimum of 35 days when stored at 4°C, eight days at 22°C and 54 hours at 37°C. Up to three freeze-thaw cycles had no effect on the persistence of bactericidal activity and hemolytic complement assays confirmed no effect on complement function. Delay in the separation of serum for up to four days from clotted blood stored at 22°C did not affect bactericidal activity. Dilution of serum resulted in an increased rate of loss of bactericidal activity and so serum should be stored undiluted. These findings indicate that the current guidelines concerning manipulation and storage of human serum to preserve complement integrity and function leave a large margin for safety with regards to bactericidal activity against Salmonella. The study provides a scheme for determining the requirements for serum handling in relation to functional activity of complement in other systems.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Blood Bactericidal Activity, Complement System Proteins, Humans, Protein Stability, Salmonella, Salmonella Infections, Serum, Temperature