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  • Cell culture is one of the most useful tools in life science research and biotechnology. It is irreplaceable in various applications such as drug development, toxin testing, investigation of biomolecular functions, and production of biological agents. Cell culture is a general term for the removal of cells, tissues or organs from animals or plants into an artificial environment conducive to their survival and proliferation. The basic environmental requirements for cell growth include a controlled temperature, a substrate for cell attachment, and an appropriate growth medium. The selection of an appropriate medium is a critical step in cell culture. Cell culture medium is designed to maintain the pH and osmolality of microorganisms, cells, or small plants, and support their growth. The medium is generally composed of amino acids, vitamins, inorganic salts, glucose, and serum. Each component performs a specific function. Inorganic salts in the media maintain the osmotic balance and regulate membrane potential by providing sodium, potassium, and calcium ions. Amino acids are key components of cell culture media, especially essential amino acids, because cells cannot synthesize essential amino acids on their own. Amino acids are required for cell proliferation, and their concentrations determine the maximum density that cells can achieve. L-glutamine is a particularly important essential amino acid that provides nitrogen to NAD, NADPH, and nucleotides and is a secondary energy source for metabolism. L-glutamine should be added to the medium prior to use because of its instability. Carbohydrates in cell culture media are the main source of energy. Most media contain glucose and galactose, but some media contain maltose and fructose. In addition, cell culture media commonly contain proteins, fatty acids and lipids, vitamins, trace elements, antibiotics, and supplements. Serum is one of the most important components of the medium and is the source of many components such as amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, lipids, and trace elements.

    Cell culture media can be divided into serum-containing media, serum-free media, chemically defined media, and protein-free media. Different types of media have different applications, such as immediate survival, prolonged survival, unlimited growth, and specialized functions of cells. Serum-containing media are the most common type of media, which is low cost and widely used. Serum-free media offer greater consistency than serum-containing media and are specifically formulated to support the culture of a single cell type without the need for serum. Protein-free media only contain non-protein components. The use of protein-free medium promotes superior cell growth and protein expression and facilitates downstream purification of any expressed product. Chemically defined media contain ultrapure inorganic and organic components and may contain pure protein additives. All the components and their concentrations require to be identified.

    Depending on the experimental needs, many factors in cell culture need to be considered, such as media conditions, the additional supplements, culture duration, and cell functionalization. Amerigo Scientific offers a wide range of products to simplify the cell culture process, including cell culture systems, reagents, media, antibiotics, consumables, and cell lines.

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