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Cell culture media - require information on media (Feb/14/2010 )

Hi all,

I am not a cell biologist and an extreme newb when it comes to cell culturing. In fact I don't do cell culture and don't intend to during my PhD....However despite this I was asked the questions "There are different media types for cell culture. What is the difference between different cell culture media? Why do different cells use different media?"

I assume from the question that obviously cells are different and some would need different conditions.

The following question was also asked "When we come across an odd cell type, which media should we use and how do we go about it?"

I am hoping I could have a discussion about these questions, because apart from simple differences such as pH or various additives I can't answer these questions.




You need to know where these cells were bought from, certainly they will tell what kinda media you need.
everyhing else like especial supplment ... depends on your cells. so you should find out where they has come from first.


Basically media boil down (no pun intended) to a few simple things: Osmolality, pH/buffering, sugar content, and FCS or supplement content. Most media are subtle or not so subtle variations on the theme and have been developed by people trying to culture a particular cell type or types (e.g. DMEM is Dulbecco's modification of Eagle's minimal essential medium, RPMI 1640 is formulation 1640 from the Roswell Park Memorial Institute).

Different cell types like different conditions- cells from the pancreas may need higher glucose for instance, while cells from the breast might need estrogen to grow (or not - check out the mechanism of the estrogen receptor).


Thanks for your responses