Zinc (Zn) alloys have been considered as promising absorbable metals, mainly due to their moderate degradation rates ranging between magnesium alloys and iron alloys. The degradation behavior depends on the specific physiological environment. Released metallic ions and corrosion products directly influence biocompatibility. The initial contact of orthopedic implants or vascular stents after implantation will be with blood. In this study, fetal bovine serum (FBS) was used as a model system of blood components. We investigated the influence of FBS on in vitro degradation behavior and cytotoxicity of pure Zn, and Zn-4Ag and Zn-2Ag-1.8Au-0.2 V (wt%) alloys. The initial degradation rates in FBS were assessed and compared with the degradation and toxicity in four other common physiological model systems: DMEM cell culture medium ± FBS and McCoy's 5A medium ± FBS. Test samples in pure FBS showed the highest initial degradation rates, and accordingly, FBS supplemented media accelerated the degradation process as well. Moreover, an extract test according to ISO 10993-5 and -12 with L929 and Saos-2 cells was performed to investigate the role of FBS in the extraction medium. The cytotoxic effects observed in the tests were correlated with FBS-mediated Zn2+ release. These findings have significant implications regarding the selection of appropriate media for in vitro degradation and cytotoxicity evaluation of Zn and its alloys. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Metallic zinc and its alloys have been considered as promising biodegradable metals, mainly due to their moderate degradation rates. However, in vitro cytotoxicity tests according to the current ISO 10993 standard series are not suitable to predict biocompatibility of Zn alloys due to the inconsistent correlation between in vitro and in vitro biocompatibility. In this study, we show that the outcomes of standardized in vitro cytotoxicity tests of Zn and Zn alloys are influenced by fetal bovine serum in the extraction vehicle because FBS promotes Zn2+ release during the extraction process. The results of the study provide significant information for selection of appropriate model systems to evaluate in vitro degradation behavior and cytotoxicity.