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Overview of cell culture products

Cell culture products include the consumable products and equipment to isolate, grow, and process cells for life sciences research or bioprocessing. Cell culture media and feeds, cell culture serum products, and supplements are used for mammalian cell culture in bioreactors. Buffers and bioprocessing liquids are used to hydrate powder components and maintain the pH and osmolality of cells.

In research applications, adherent cells are usually grown in a single layer on the bottom of tissue culture plates or flasks. To produce biopharmaceuticals such as vaccines, microcarriers can provide a large surface for cell growth in suspension culture. This allows cells to reach high density for efficient large-scale production. Some cell lines are adapted to grow freely in suspension, without requiring an adherent surface.

Cell culture

Cell culture entails the growth of cells outside their natural environment. For antibody production, which is a common molecule type for biopharmaceuticals, this process usually begins with cell line generation and selection. Since the cells require the right amount of specific nutrients for peak cell growth throughout a bioreactor run, consider adding feeds and supplements to the basal cell culture medium at appropriate times.

Most biologics such as recombinant proteins and vaccines are produced using cell culture bioreactors. These often use a rocking motion or stirred-tank mechanisms to keep cells moving. Large-scale production is typically done in stirred-tank bioreactors with disposable bags. Cells can be cultivated in batch, fed-batch, or perfusion modes.

Culture and fermentation FAQs

Here are answers to common questions about fermentation and cell culture.

What is microbial fermentation?

The term fermentation means a chemical change created by using microorganisms. In the biotechnology industry this process is used to make food additives, animal feeds, and pharmaceuticals. When making biologics, it’s critical to maintain a high quality and quantity of the target molecule each time you make it. So, industrial fermentation relies on advanced technology and robust processes. Automated, single-use fermenters are often used to develop and optimize fermentation processes for biologic production.

What's the difference between bioreactors and fermenters?

Bioreactors and fermenters are both used in industry to produce biologic products such as recombinant proteins from cells. Fermenters are limited to microbial use in anaerobic conditions (i.e., in the absence of oxygen). In contrast, bioreactors support the growth of mammalian cells in cell culture bioprocessing systems in aerobic conditions (i.e., with oxygen present). Both bioreactors and fermenters help in managing temperature, stirring speed, and other factors. The levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are adjusted as required by the cell line to keep nutrient supply steady and remove waste products that could inhibit cell growth.

Our bioreactors come in a broad range of sizes – from 10 to 2000 L – to easily scale your process up or down. Single-use bioreactor systems and fermenters have disposable bags to help prevent contamination and allow quick change-over between batches.