Energy substrates and amino acids were evaluated for supporting acquisition of developmental competence by bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes during in vitro maturation. The basic culture medium (Basic Medium-3) used for in vitro maturation of oocytes was modified to produce six media containing glucose or glutamine with lactate or pyruvate, or glucose + glutamine, or glucose + 11 amino acids; a seventh (control) medium was TCM199. All media contained polyvinyl alcohol, gonadotropins, epidermal growth factor and oestradiol. Following maturation, oocytes were incubated in medium TALP for fertilisation, then cumulus cells were removed and presumptive embryos cultured for 48 h in a chemically defined medium (HECM-6) followed by 120 h in medium TCM199 + bovine calf serum. Six substrate treatments yielded similar first cleavage responses (66-78%) at 72 h post-insemination; however, blastocyst development at 192 h varied significantly. Oocytes matured in medium with glucose + 11 amino acids gave the best blastocyst development: 21% of inseminated oocytes or 25% of 2-cell embryos. Cumulus expansion in HECM-6 required glucose with either glutamine, 11 amino acids or lactate, or glutamine + lactate. We conclude that (1) the type of energy substrate or nutrient supplied during in vitro maturation of oocytes profoundly affects subsequent developmental competence; (2) oocyte maturation in simple medium containing glucose with lactate or 11 amino acids or glutamine, or lactate + glutamine, can support development equally as well as the complex medium, TCM199; and (3) media supporting at least moderate cumulus expansion during oocyte maturation also support subsequent blastocyst development.