Ask The Expert - Why is it so frowned upon to use antibiotics in cell culture now?

Published: September 13, 2013
Session Expert: Timothy Fawcett, BioTechnical Institute of Maryland



Why is it so frowned upon to use antibiotics in cell culture now?

There are times when using antibiotics is justified, for example if you are isolating a primary culture and you can not risk a contaminated sample of tissue. Having mentioned that however, during regular cell culture the use of antibiotics should be avoided. The reasons are many but to list a few….antibiotics can result in persistent low-level contaminations and continued use can allow for resistant organisms to grow. Also antibiotics can be harmful to animal cells depending on both the concentration and media used. Additionally, and I think importantly, the use of antibiotics can mask poor aseptic technique which can become a large problem down the road. It is best to not use antibiotics and learn how to work properly and have good technique which is the best way to reduce contamination.

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