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The QIAGEN Guide to Animal Cell Culture

Part IV: Essential protocols for animal cell culture

Welcome to the next of our series of articles aimed at providing useful hints for culturing animal cells. This article contains useful protocols for animal cell culture. The series will continue in future issues of QIAGEN News, followed by hints for successful transfection.

Maintaining cell cultures

Establishment and maintenance of animal cell cultures require standardized approaches for media preparation, feeding, and passaging (or subculturing) of the cells. Cultures should be examined regularly to check for signs of contamination and to determine if the culture needs feeding or passaging.

The cell culture protocols below have been adapted from the following sources: Culture of Animal Cells; a Manual of Basic Technique (1), Current Protocols in Molecular Biology (2), and Cells: A Laboratory Manual (3). These protocols are examples of methods for general cell culture, and have not been rigorously validated and optimized by QIAGEN. There are many alternative protocols in current use.

IMPORTANT: Potentially biohazardous materials (e.g., cells, culture medium, etc.) should be sterilized before disposal, and disposed of according to your institutions guidelines.

Cell thawing

1. Heat a water bath to 37C, and warm the growth medium into which the cells will be plated.

2. Add prewarmed growth medium to an appropriately sized cell culture vessel.

3. Remove a vial of frozen cells from liquid nitrogen, and place in the water bath until thawed.


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