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Overview of cell culture

Cell culture refers to the removal of cells from plants or animals and growing them in artificial environments. Cells are grown in tissue culture plates or flasks in research. Bioreactors are used to grow cells for industrial applications. These cells come directly from tissue or from a stable and established cell line.

Cell culture conditions

Though cell culture conditions vary with different cell types, in vitro growth of cells in a suitable vessel requires:

  • A growth medium to supply crucial nutrients like carbohydrates and amino acids
  • A controlled physical and chemical environment (pH, temperature, and osmotic pressure)
  • Growth factors
  • Hormones
  • Gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide

Since adherent cells are anchorage dependent, they usually require a substrate such as microcarriers for efficient culture. Other cells grow freely throughout the culture media when continuously agitated through a rocking or spinning motion.

Cell culture media and supplementation

A major consideration during in vitro culture and bioprocessing is the growth medium. Cell culture media include nutrients and salts to help maintain eukaryotic cells such as mammalian and insect cell lines. For optimal cell proliferation, you can enrich growth media with media supplements like serum products, vitamins, and lipids.

Cell culture feeds FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cell culture feeds, sometimes called cell culture supplements.

What are cell culture supplements?

These are growth media additives that improve cell growth and proliferation in culture systems. Cell culture feeds are one category of supplements added during the culture process in biomanufacturing. They’re added at discrete timepoints rather than continuously, in a processing mode called fed-batch culture.

How are they used with cell culture media?

When added to media, supplements enhance cell growth and production of recombinant proteins and potentially increase the length of the culture. CHO and HEK293 cells are commonly used to manufacture antibodies and other recombinant proteins.

What is their composition?

In liquid or powder form, cell culture feeds contain a variety of components, such as amino acids, vitamins, glucose, lipids, and growth factors. Several formulations are available to meet the needs of different cells.

How do they work?

These products replace depleted nutrients during cell culture for enhanced productivity and yield in fed-batch culture. It’s a good idea to evaluate several different products to determine which formula provides the desired results with a given cell line.

Learn more about Cytiva’s cell culture feeds in these application notes: