Antibiotics in Cell Culture – What types are available and when and how to utilize them.

Sponsored by: Life Technologies
Session ends: October 11th, 2013, 3:00pm MST
Answers by: Timothy Fawcett, Ph.D., Director, BioTechnical Institute of Marylandd (BTI)


Antibiotics are often chemicals and sometimes polypeptides that affect the ability of bacteria to grow.  Antibiotics come in two categories, bacteriostatic and bactericidal.  Bacteriostatic antibiotics don’t kill but inhibit some vital cellular process such as cell-wall synthesis or protein expression.  If the baceriostatic antibiotic is removed bacterial growth can resume.  Bactericidal antibiotics kill bacterial cells and therefore they are useful at preventing contaminations and eliminating them.  There are many antibiotics available and it is important to know when and how to use them.  This session is a good opportunity to ask your questions and get answers.


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Questions & Answers

We are having troubles with contamination in our primary cell cultures of neurons. I have been working with cell cultures for more than 7 years and I’ve never faced a contamination. The interesting part is that only our neurons culture get contaminated; our glial cells are always safe. For culturing neurons we use Neurobasal-A (Gibco 10888-022) supplemented with 1% antibiotics/antimycotic (Gibco 15240-062) and for culturing glia cells, we use DMEM. In our last experiment, we increased antibiotics/antimycotic concentration for 2%, but we still had contamination in some wells of the cell culture plate (with bacteria and fungi). What may be happening? Do you have some advice for us?

So I have some questions. For your neuron growth do you add serum to your Neurobasal A medium and do you use a feeder layer for growth or coat the wells?. I guess the question is what is different about your two cultures. I assume both cell types are isolated from the same tissue at […]» Read More

If you want to include a low level of antibiotic in your hybridoma cell culture to reduce the risk of contamination, which type would you recommend and how much?

My first thought would be penicillin and streptomycin at 50 ug each/ml. The two can be purchased supplied together and is called pen-strep. Penicillin kills gram positive bacteria by inhibiting cell wall synthesis and streptomycin kills by inhibiting protein synthesis in gram positive and gram negative bacteria. If you are using a serum-free medium use […]» Read More