What Is Cell Culture?
Cell culture refers to the removal of cells from an animal or plant and their subsequent growth in a favorable artificial environment. The cells may be removed from the tissue directly and dis-aggregated by enzymatic or mechanical means before cultivation, or they may be derived from a cell line or cell strain that has already been established.
In 1885, Wilhelm Roux successfully maintained a portion of an embryonic chicken, in warm saline water, establishing the principle of tissue culture. An English physiologist Sydney Ringer, developed salt solutions containing essential elements, for keeping live cells active outside the mother tissue.
The concept of maintaining live cells outside the original tissue was discovered in the nineteenth century. Cell culture techniques were advanced scientifically in the 1940s and 1950s.
Cell culture is one of the major tools used in cellular and molecular biology, providing excellent model systems for studying the normal physiology and biochemistry of cells (e.g., metabolic studies, aging), the effects of drugs and toxic compounds on the cells, and mutagenesis and carcinogenesis.
It is also used in drug screening and development, and large scale manufacturing of biological compounds (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic proteins). The major advantage of using cell culture for any of these applications is the consistency and reproducibility of results that can be obtained from using a batch of cloned cells.