Cell culture is one of the most diverse and exciting techniques used in the lab. Its applications are wide, and can range from growing new cells to replace damaged tissue in our body, to finding a new drug target for a disease.
While cell based-assays are pivotal in life science research, the need to maintain high numbers of viable cells throughout the various stages of research can make cell culture a frustrating and time-consuming process.
Taking cell-based assays to the edge
Microplates are commonly used in cell-based assays to run several tests at the same time, but often researchers find themselves losing efficiency due to edge effect. Edge effect is lab lingo for when the content in some wells – often the outer 36 wells of a 96-well plate – partly evaporate during incubation. This can lead to different volumes of content across the plate, resulting in inconsistencies in the concentration of each well. As the wells are so small, even a 10% loss in volume can dramatically change the cell physiology and your assay results!
To avoid the disappointment of having edge effect skew your results, there are specially designed 96-well plates that contain small moats around their perimeter, which can be filled with sterile fluid to form an ‘evaporation buffer’ for the outer wells. This design has been tested and proven to effectively decrease the evaporation rate of the entire plate, ensuring that well concentrations are not significantly altered.
Improved efficiency and productivity
In the past, scientists have attempted to mitigate edge effect simply by not using the outer wells of the plate for culture. But in a 96-well plate, this means that nearly 40% of the wells are completely wasted – taking away from the efficiency of using microplates for cell-based assays. There are innovative, cost-effective options today that enable use of all 96 wells while maintaining critical consistency and cell viability across the entire plate.
Hear more of what the experts have to say as they discuss innovative, productive solutions for cell-based assays in an engaging and educational Cell Culture Cafe Webinar!
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