| | Re: cell culture help
Have you considered trying prepared MEM? You'd still have to add serum, but it would eliminate any preparation issues in terms of the pH, filtering, etc.
Personally, I make up my media with the serum added to the desired concentration, which eliminates the possible measuring error when adding serum to smaller amounts of media. But I doubt that kind of error would cause the problems you describe.
I'd check for MP before anything else. That, and maybe try prepared media.
Oh, and one last thought - are you certain your plastics are tissue-culture grade? Bacterial and chemical grade plastics often contain components toxic to mammalian cells, and may also be poor substrates for cell adhesion. You may want to double-check that they are tissue-culture quality.
Oh, and one other last thought - in the past we've had issues with some batches of serum not supporting good cell growth. If you haven't done it already, it may be a good idea to try serum from another company, or at least a different lot from the same company. I think the quantities of growth factors can vary largely batch-to-batch...