The specific requirements of a cell culture laboratory depend mainly on the type of research conducted; for example, the needs of mammalian cell culture laboratory specializing in cancer research is quite different from that of an insect cell culture laboratory that focuses on protein expression. However, all cell culture laboratories have the common requirement of being free from pathogenic microorganisms (i.e., asepsis), and share some of the same basic equipment that is essential for culturing cells.
This section lists the equipment and supplies common to most cell culture laboratories, as well as beneficial equipment that allows the work to be performed more efficiently or accurately, or permits wider range of assays and analyses.
Note that this list is not all inclusive; the requirements for any cell culture laboratory depend the type of work conducted.
- Cell culture hood (i.e., laminar-flow hood or biosafety cabinet)
- Incubator (humid CO2 incubator recommended)
- Water bath
- Refrigerator and freezer (–20°C)
- Cell counter (e.g., Countess® II FL Automated Cell Counter or hemacytometer)
- Inverted microscope
- Liquid nitrogen (N2) freezer or cryostorage container
- Sterilizer (i.e., autoclave)
Expanded Equipment & Additional Supplies
- Aspiration pump (peristaltic or vacuum)
- pH meter
- Roller racks (for scaling up monolayer cultures)
- Confocal microscope
- Flow cytometer
- Cell culture vessels (e.g., flasks, Petri dishes, roller bottles, multiwell plates)
- Pipettes and pipettors
- Syringes and needles
- Waste containers
- Media, sera, and reagents
- Cell cubes
- EG bioreactors
Aseptic Work Area
The major requirement of a cell culture laboratory is the need to maintain an aseptic work area that is restricted to cell culture work. Although a separate tissue culture room is preferred, a designated cell culture area within a larger laboratory can still be used for sterile handling, incubation, and storage of cell cultures, reagents, and media. The simplest and most economical way to provide aseptic conditions is to use a laminar flow hood (i.e., biosafety cabinet).