Microcarriers are support matrices for cell attachment, growth, and expansion in mixing environments such as bioreactor systems. Cells are grown on the surface of small solid particles that are suspended in growth medium to enable cell adherence. In their simple form, microcarriers are 100- to 300-micron-beads that have sufficient density to maintain suspension during stirring. Microcarriers can be made of synthetic or natural polymers. These synthetic polymers include poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate), acrylamide, polystyrene and polyurethane. Although synthetic polymer manufactured microcarriers are highly reproducible, they tend to lack cell recognition sites, which limits their use in cell expansion applications. Natural polymers and their derivatives have received increasing attention due to their ease of availability and biocompatibility. Natural polymers used to make microcarriers include gelatin, collagen, cellulose, chitosan, etc.

Various animal cells such as mammalian, avian, fish and insect cells can be cultured on microcarriers. In addition, cells of broad histotypic origin, including primary cells, diploid cell strains, established or transformed cell lines, hybrid cell lines, and tumor cells, can be cultured on microcarriers. Cultured cells are the predominant expression system to produce biologics including viral vaccines, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and other therapeutic proteins. The use of microcarriers reduces the time, expense, and equipment complexity required for routine propagation of anchorage-dependent cells. The growing prevalence of cell-based therapy and the growing need for vaccine production are driving the rapid growth in demand for the use of microcarriers.

Macroporous microcarriers can provide more internal growing spaces for cells and prevent damage from shear forces. However, one challenge associated with the microcarrier-based cell expansion is that these microcarriers need to be removed or separated from the final product and the downstream steps are usually accomplished through filtration and/or centrifugation. But these separation processes may result in the final product loss and cost issues. Amerigo Scientific offers UniTantrix™ dissolvable microcarriers that can avoid these problems.

UniTantrix® Microcarriers

UniTantrix® dissolvable macroporous microcarriers are manufactured with patented technology and have a unique pore structure with very high pore connectivity and surface area. The highly connective and uniform pores allow cells to adhere, proliferate, migrate, and differentiate within the microcarrier while enabling the exchange of nutrients, oxygen, and metabolic waste. UniTantrix® microcarriers are made from denatured collagen or other animal component-free materials without the chemical crosslinkers. This makes UniTantrix® microcarriers flexible mechanical properties and physical stability, both of which reduce the shear stress experienced by the cultured cells. In addition, collagen is readily dissolved by enzymes, allowing cell recovery to approach 100%.

UniTantrix® Scaffold-Like MicrocarriersUniTantrix® Scaffold-Like Microcarriers

Product Name Size
UniTantrix® Microcarriers, sterile 1 g/bottle; 10 g/bottle; 20 g/bottle; 100 g/bottle
UniTantrix® Microcarriers, sterile, GMP grade 1 g/bottle; 10 g/bottle; 20 g/bottle; 100 g/bottle
UniTantrix® Microcarriers, sterile, medical grade 1 g/bottle; 10 g/bottle; 20 g/bottle; 100 g/bottle

Physical Specifications

Material Denatured collagen or alternative animal component-free material
Density 1.0-1.1 g/ml
Microcarrier Diameter 300-1,000 um (dry powder)
Average Pore Diameter ~150 um
Average Interpore Size ~30-50 um
Surface Area ~6000 cm²/g
Dissolvability Yes, with TrypLE or Trypsin-EDTA

Advantages of UniTantrix® microcarriers

High interpore connectivity and surface-to-volume ratio
  • High cell growth rate
  • Protecting cells from shear stress, increasing cell viability and yield
  • Reducing the amount of microcarriers required
  • Maintaining differentiation properties of cells
Denatured collagen material
  • High cell attachment and proliferation rates
  • Dissolvable substrate for easy cell harvesting and high cell recovery
  • Reducing labor requirement
Lot-to-lot consistency
  • High reproducibility of results with minimal intra- and inter-variability

Safety Certification

Non-Pyrogenic
  • Endotoxin has been tested and met the criteria of USP<85> "Bacterial Endotoxins Test”. The acceptance level for microcarriers is 0.1 EU/mL or 4 EU/device.
TSE/BSE Statement
  • Product complies with the latest revision of EMA/410/01 "Note for Guidance on Minimizing the Risk of Transmitting Animal Spongiform Encephalopathy Agents via Human and Veterinary Medicinal Product (rev.3, March 2011), identical with chapter 5.2.8 of the European Pharmacopoeia (07/2011:50208).
Sterilization
  • The products have undergone gamma-irradiated sterilization.
  • The materials are autoclavable once prior to inoculating cells.
Cytotoxicity
  • Test is conducted to estimate cytotoxicity of product using USP<87> and / or ISO 10993 standards. All materials have been shown to be non-cytotoxic.
Quality Control Testing
  • Products and packages are inspected in accordance with current applicable product specifications.
  • Inspection records are reviewed and approved by qualified personnel for product release.
Good Manufacturing Practices
  • Manufactured by a GMP-compliant facility

Application Example

Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were cultured on UniTantrix® Microcarriers.

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