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Home » Biology Homework Help » Biotechnology » Culture Media
Culture Media
The nutrient media used for culture of animal cells and tissues must be able to support their survival as well as growth, i.e. must provide nutritional, hormonal and stromal factors. The various types of media used for tissue culture may be grouped into two broad categories: (1) natural media and (2) artificial media. The choice of medium depends mainly on the type of cells to be cultured (normal, immortalized or transformed), and the objective of culture (growth, survival, differentiation, production of desired proteins). Nontransformed or normal cells (finite life span) and primary cultures from healthy tissues require defined quantities of proteins, growth factors and hormones even in the best media developed so far.

Natural media

These media consists of naturally occurring biological fluids and are of the following three types: (1) cagula or clots, (2) biological fluids and (3) tissue extracts.

Clots: The most commonly used clots are plasma clots which have been in use for a long time. Plasma is not commercially available either in liquid or lyophilized state. It may also be prepared in the laboratory, usually from the blood of male fowl, but blood clotting must be avoided during the preparation.

Biological fluids: Of the various biological fluids used as culture medium (e.g. amniotic fluid, ascetic and pleural fluid, aqueous humour from eye, insect haemolymph, serum etc.), serum is the most widely used. Serum may be obtained from adult human blood, placental cord blood, horse blood or calf blood (foetal calf serum, newborn calf serum, and calf serum); of these foetal calf serums is the most commonly used.

Serum is a liquid exuded from coagulating blood. Different preparations of serum differ in their properties, they have to be tested for sterility and toxicity before use.

Tissue extracts: Chick embryo extract is the most commonly used tissue extract, but bovine embryo extract is also used. Other tissue extracts that have been used are spleen, liver, bone marrow, leucocytes etc. extracts. Tissue extracts can often be substituted by a mixture of amino acids and certain other compounds.

Artificial media

Different artificial media have been devised to serve one of the following purposes; (1) immediate survival (a balanced salt solution, with specified pH and osmotic pressure is adequate), (2) prolonged survival (a balanced salt solution supplemented with serum, or with suitable formulation of organic compounds), (3) indefinite growth, and (4) specialization functions.

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