Introduction to Cell Culture: A Comprehensive Guide for Successful Experiments

Introduction to Cell Culture: A Comprehensive Guide for Successful Experiments

How to Get Started with Cell Culture

Cell culture, a term that sounds simple, but without the right processes and equipment can quickly go wrong, leading to wasted time and resources.

If you work in life sciences, you’ve likely worked with cells of some type. Cell culture is a technique to grow and maintain cells in a controlled environment. It is a fundamental tool for studying cellular processes, developing new therapies and drugs, and producing recombinant proteins.

But working with living things comes with lots of challenges. At Cole-Parmer, we understand those challenges. Whether you’re working with immortalized cell lines or primary cultures, our range of consumables and equipment is here to keep your cells alive and happy!

If you need any help with finding the right cell culture consumables, don't hesitate to Contact us. We're here to help you and your cells grow!


Keep Cells Clean

Say goodbye to cell culture contamination nightmares and hello to happy cells.

Save Time and Money

Don't settle for anything less than the best. Choose the labware that will help you achieve your goals.

Stay Consistent

Eliminate erratic cell behavior with quality labware. Trust us to deliver reliable results every time.


When it comes to cell culture, choosing the right labware is crucial. Your choice of labware can greatly impact the success of your experiment, affecting everything from cell attachment and growth to the accuracy of your results.


What do I need to consider in the cell culture lab?

Cell Seeding and Maintenance


  • Prepare culture vessels
  • Quickly thaw cryopreserved cells
  • Seed thawed cells into culture vessels
  • Add pre-warmed growth media and supplements
  • Incubate under optimal conditions


Cell Seeding and Maintenance

Once cells are established in culture, maintaining proper growth conditions is key to their health and viability. This includes regular feeding and passaging of cells to prevent overgrowth and nutrient depletion.

Growing Cell Culture


  • Choose the right culture vessel
  • Seed cells
  • Monitor cell growth and confluency
  • Change media and add supplements
  • Regularly check for contamination


Growing Cell Cultures

Depending on the type of cells being cultured, different approaches may be necessary. For example, culturing suspension cells versus adherent cells may require different culture vessels and conditions. Additionally, the use of feeder cells may be necessary for some cell types to support growth.

Cell Culture Cryopreservation and Freezing


  • Detach cells from culture vessel
  • Centrifuge cells and resuspend in cryoprotectant
  • Transfer cells to cryovials
  • Slowly freeze cells using a programmable freezer or insulated box
  • For long-term storage, place cryovials in liquid nitrogen
Cell Culture Cryopreservation and Freezing

Cryopreservation is a process used to store cells for long periods at very low temperatures. This can be critical for ensuring the long-term viability of a cell line. Properly freezing and storing cells requires specialized equipment and techniques to prevent damage to the cells during the freezing and thawing process.



How do I choose the right labware for cell culture?

Consider several factors when choosing labware for cell culture, including the cell type, the volume of cells, and the experimental design. For example, adherent cells require a proper surface to attach to, and the choice of flask or plate should take this into account. Suspension cells require specialized vessels to prevent aggregation, and the right type of tube or flask should be used. And don’t forget to consider the experimental design, such as the number of replicates and the type of analysis, as this will make all the difference when choosing the appropriate labware.


Cell Seeding and Maintenance

Culture Flasks

One of the most important pieces of labware is your culture flask. The culture flask provides a sterile environment for cell growth and can come in a variety of sizes and shapes, such as T-flasks, roller bottles, and spinner flasks. Each type of flask has its advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice will depend on your cell type and the specific experimental conditions.

Cole-Parmer Culture Dishes

Culture Dishes

Like culture flasks, culture dishes come in various sizes and shapes and they may be made from different materials such as plastic or glass. The right choice will depend on your specific needs, but it is important to choose dishes that are sterile and free of contaminants. A contaminated dish can ruin an entire experiment and lead to false results!

Cole-Parmer Pipettors

Pipettes, Serological Pipettes and Tips

In addition to flasks and dishes, labware such as pipettes, serological pipettes, and tips are essential for transferring cells and media. These labware items must be sterile and properly calibrated to ensure accurate and precise measurements. Pipettes are especially important for transferring small volumes of liquids, such as when adding growth factors or antibiotics to your culture medium.

Cole-Parmer® DLF-400 Vertical Laminar Flow Cabinets

Laminar Flow Hoods

When you're dealing with living cells, you want to keep them as sterile as possible. That's where laminar flow hoods come in. These are enclosed workspaces with a filtered airflow that keeps everything inside free from contaminants. Think of them as giant sterile bubbles.

So why are they important for cell culture? Well, any time you're working with cells, you're at risk of introducing unwanted bacteria, fungi, or other microorganisms. These can interfere with your experiments or contaminate your entire cell line. Laminar flow hoods create a sterile environment that helps to mitigate that risk.

Cole-Parmer® Essentials Vacuum Aspiration Systems

Aspiration Systems

When you're working with cell cultures, you often need to remove media or other liquids from your samples. That's where aspiration systems come in. These are vacuum systems that allow you to carefully suction out fluids without disturbing your cells.

Why is this important? Well, if you're too rough with your cells or if you expose them to too much air or agitation, you can cause damage. Aspiration systems allow you to remove fluids in a controlled way.

Cole-Parmer Cryogenic Products

Cryopreservation Tools

These tools include insulated containers, cryogenic vials, and labels, specifically designed for storing cells at low temperatures. Additionally, use freezable cryovials, cryo boxes, and cryo racks to store multiple cryovials in an organized manner, making it easier to locate your specific samples when needed. Having the right tools in place can save time, reduce the risk of contamination, and ultimately lead to successful cell recovery after thawing.