Hydrogels are cross-linked networks of hydrophilic polymers that that can be used in three-dimensional (3D) cell culture applications. Their high content of water, porous structure, and 3D network structures facilitate the diffusion of oxygen, nutrients, and metabolic products. A wide range of natural or synthetic hydrogels have been used for 3D cell culturing, such as matrigel, hyaluronic acid, collagen, gelatin, polyethylene glycol, and polyacrylamide. Animal-origin hydrogels have inconsistency and batch-to-batch variation that cause problems with reproducibility. Handling the hydrogels might be laborious, which hinders their use in high-throughput screening (HTS). In addition, hydrogels with limited transparency complicate observation, especially in high-content imaging, and require special setups for analysis.

Plant derived nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) hydrogel is an ideal matrix for 3D cell growth without human or animal origin, which is biocompatible, enzymatically degradable, and easy to handle, transport, and store. No specific interaction occurs between cells and NFC hydrogels. By controlling the fiber concentration of the NFC hydrogel, the required mechanical forces (stiffness) of cells can be easily obtained.

GrowDex® Hydrogels

Amerigo Scientific offers GrowDex®, animal-free, ready-to-use NFC hydrogels that mimic the native extracellular matrix (ECM). GrowDex® hydrogels support cell growth, maintenance with biochemical signals, and form a framework for transfer of nutrients, waste metabolites and intercellular signaling. GrowDex® can be used for 3D cell culture for spheroids and organoids in organ-on-a-chip models, drug release studies and more.

GrowDex® Original

GrowDex original hydrogel is highly biocompatible and has been used widely for the culture of primary cells through to embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Product Name Size Applications
GrowDex® original 2.5 ml; 5 ml; 10 ml An animal free and ready to use hydrogel for 3D cell culture
GrowDex® multipack 3 x 5 ml
GrowDex® combo pack 5 ml + 2.5 ml A combined package containing 2.5 ml of GrowDase™ and 5 ml of GrowDex for 3D cell culture

GrowDase™ is a purified mixture of cellulase enzymes that specifically breaks down the nanofibrillar cellulose present in GrowDex® hydrogel matrix to soluble glucose. 2.5 ml of GrowDase™ can degrade 5 ml of GrowDex. The enzymatic degradation process is simple to perform at 37°C, allowing cells to be recovered from the matrix efficiently with retaining their 3D structure, and without any adverse effects on cell viability or function.


GrowDex-T hydrogel is completely transparent and offers superior imaging quality for phase contrast and brightfield imaging, making imaging and automated analysis easy. GrowDex-T can be mixed directly with cells and culture media without the need for gelation or cross-linking steps.

Product Name Size Applications
GrowDex®-T Transparent hydrogel 2.5 ml; 5 ml; 10 ml A ready to use hydrogel with superior imaging properties for imaging with any microscope or high content imaging system
GrowDex®-T multipack Transparent hydrogel 3 x 5 ml


GrowDex-A is a ready to use, transparent hydrogel. It consists of avidin conjugated nanofibrillar cellulose which can be customized by binding different biotinylated molecules to create a specific matrix.

Product Name Size Applications
GrowDex®-A 2.5 ml; 5 ml; 10 ml A ready to use hydrogel for specific 3D cell culture with functionalization capabilities
GrowDex®-A multipack 3 x 5 ml

Easy Assay Set Up

Features and Benefits

Animal Free

Clean and well-defined hydrogels consisting of only nanofibrillar cellulose and purified water*

High Consistency

Manufactured to the highest standards, no batch-to-batch variation

Ready to Use

GrowDex mixed with media and cells directly, and no gel preparation steps required

One-step Cell Recovery

Cells and organoids recovered from GrowDex without affecting the cells using GrowDase

Temperature Stable

Used and stored at room temperature


Optimal hardness obtained by dilution with cell culture medium

Microscope Compatible

Available for imaging with any high content imaging system

HTS Optimized

Ideal for high throughput assays

*Excludes GrowDex-A after addition of biotinylated ligands


The ideal culturing matrix can be customized easily by adding cell culture media and growth factors to GrowDex® hydrogels, according to culturing properties of the cells. More than 150 optimized protocols are available for different cell types.

  • Cancer cells
  • Liver cells
  • Cardiovascular cells
  • Stem cells
  • Kidney cells
  • Osteocytes and chondrocytes
  • Neuronal cells
  • Fibroblasts
  • Epithelial and endothelial cells

3D Cell Culture

  • Control the environment without the addition of animal proteins interfering with readouts.
  • Get easy and reproducible workflows for setting up assays, dispensing and imaging.
  • Tune the matrix by adjusting the stiffness or by adding growth factors and proteins.
  • Recover cells without affecting the cells or causing mechanical stress to cells.

High Throughput Screening

  • High-precision, rapid automated high-throughput and high-content screening (HTS/HCS) can be performed with GrowDex at room temperature.
  • There is no need to worry about temperature control, clogging pipette tips or unexpected polymerization of the matrix.
  • Without challenging optimization steps, focus on analyzing cells. End-point analysis is robust and accurate as the matrix is not auto-fluorescent.

Other Life Science Applications

  • 3D cell model
  • 2D hydrogel coating
  • Invasion assay
  • 3D migration
  • Controlled release
  • Co-culture

How to Choose GrowDex® Hydrogels

FEATURE GrowDex® GrowDex®-T GrowDex®-A
Cellulose Type Native Anionic Anionic
Cellulose Fiber Charge Neutral Negative Negative
Stock Concentration 0.015 0.01 0.01
Working Concentration Range 0.2% - 1.5% 0.1% - 1.0% 0.1% - 1.0%
Visual Appearance Opaque Transparent Transparent
Brightfield ☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆
Phase Contrast ☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆
Fluorescence ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆
Ready-to-use Yes Yes Yes, mix with biotinylated molecules
Shelf Life 12 months 12 months 6 months

Which GrowDex® Hydrogel to chooseWhich GrowDex® Hydrogel to choose

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