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The QIAGEN Guide to Animal Cell Culture

Part II: Safety and handling considerations for animal cell culture

Welcome to the second of a new series of articles aimed at providing useful hints for culturing animal cells. This article describes considerations for working with animal cell cultures as well as information on cell culture contamination. The series will continue in future issues of QIAGEN News with information on cell culture growth conditions, followed by cell culture protocols.

Legislation and regulatory guidelines

Before undertaking any work with human or animal tissue (e.g., to establish a primary cell culture), it is necessary to ensure that the nature of the work conforms to the appropriate medical-ethical and animal-experiment legislation and guidelines. It may be necessary to seek approval from the relevant regulatory authorities and/or individuals.

Safety considerations and biohazards

When working with potentially hazardous material, it is important to be aware of the possible risks associated with both the material and the experimental protocol. All cell cultures are considered a biohazard because of their potential to harbor an infectious agent (e.g., a virus). The degree of hazard depends on the cells being used and the experimental protocol. Primary cell cultures in particular should be handled carefully as these cultures have a high risk of containing undetected viruses. Although commonly used cell lines are generally assumed to be free of infectious agents, care should still be exercised when working with these cell lines as it is possible that they contain infectious agents, such as latent viruses. Cell cultures used to stud
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