Standard Cell Culture Techniques

Part of the Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology Techniques book series (ICMB)


This chapter will describe the relatively few standard techniques that are the basis for the majority of manipulations of cells in vitro. Once one masters these few techniques, he or she will be able to perform routine maintenance of cell lines and set up cells for most biochemical or cell culture experiments. The more complicated techniques needed for special types of culture, the special considerations to be kept in mind when doing serum-free culture, and preparation of cells for primary culture and large-scale culture are all dealt with in separate chapters. The simplicity of these basic methods makes cell culture an ideal tool in teaching laboratories and for students. A minimum of time can be spent on techniques, allowing more time to spend on teaching the scientific method and allowing the students to discover the biology of organisms through cell cultures. Do not be misled, however; the simplicity of the techniques is not indicative of a simple discipline. It may take only 2 weeks to learn how to grow cells when everything goes right, but it can take 20 years to accumulate the knowledge to know what to do when things go wrong! Since the literature of cell culture is a long and rich one spanning many years, much of this information is not easily accessible. We will try and impart not only technical direction, but a basic understanding of the biology behind these techniques.


Growth Medium Conditioned Medium Liquid Nitrogen Temperature Total Cell Number Soybean Trypsin Inhibitor 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1998

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