One of the major advantages of cell culture is the ability to manipulate the physico-chemical (i.e., temperature, pH, osmotic pressure, O2 and CO2 tension) and the physiological environment (i.e., hormone and nutrient concentrations) in which the cells propagate. With the exception of temperature, the culture environment is controlled by the growth media.

While the physiological environment of the culture is not as well defined as its physico-chemical environment, a better understanding of the components of serum, the identification of the growth factors necessary for proliferation, and a better appreciation of the microenvironment of cells in culture (i.e., cell-cell interactions, diffusion of gases, interactions with the matrix) now allow the culture of certain cell lines in serum-free media.

The Culture Environment Affects Cell Growth

Note that cell culture conditions vary for each cell type.
The consequences of deviating from the culture conditions required for a particular cell type can range from the expression of aberrant phenotypes to a complete failure of the cell culture.  We therefore recommend that you familiarize yourself with your cell line of interest, and closely follow the instructions provided with each product you are using in your experiments.

Factors affecting the culture environment:

Video: Introduction to cell culture

This video provides an overview of the basic equipment used in cell culture and proper laboratory set-up.  Guidance on how to work safely and aseptically in a cell culture hood is introduced and demonstrated.