Tips and Tricks for Cell Culture

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you are a beginner, practice your sterile technique using water or another liquid, like LB medium. Practicing the motions and seeing how your hands need to move under the hood before starting your culture will prove to be very helpful. 

  1. Keep Your Work Area Sterile

After you have spent some time practicing your technique under the hood, it is important to bring that sterility to all aspects of cell culture. Make sure to keep your hood clean and decluttered; having a cluttered hood can disrupt the air flow. Wipe down all surfaces, before and after culturing, with 70% ethanol. Anything that enters the hood should be sterilized and sprayed down with 70% ethanol, including your gloved hands. Using disposable pipettes and autoclaving other cell culture tools is important before using them under the hood.

  1. Label Everything

Everything from your prepped media to your passage flasks should always be labeled and dated. Label your prepped media with exactly what went in it, the date it was made, and who prepared it. This will prevent any confusion as to the contents of the media and who it belongs to. It is equally important to label flasks with cell types, passage number, date passaged, and your name. Proper labeling will help keep your cell culture space well organized, making the process flow more smoothly. 

  1. Be Consistent 

Creating a schedule is key to maintaining healthy cultures. Cells typically prefer consistency, so setting up a passage routine will help ensure cells are healthy and are properly maintained for experiments. Keep track of cell confluency, making sure to split cells around 80% confluency. Being consistent with the amount of times cells are passaged every week will help maintain cell growth rates and keep the cells healthy.  

  1. Be Aware of Contamination

Observing any color changes in the media or any abnormal growths in flasks is very important. These color changes (caused by changes in pH levels) or growths could indicate contamination. Observing these changes quickly will allow you to identify the contamination source, clean and sterilize the area, which will prevent further contamination spread to other cell lines. Observing cells under a microscope to ensure that cell morphology looks good is equally important. Any changes in cell shape and size could indicate cell contamination.

Interested in learning more about cell culture? Check out the following EDVO-Kits to learn more!

Eukaryotic Cell Biology

Cell Culture Toxicity Screening

Introduction to Plant Cell Culture Kit

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