Microcarrier Cell Culture

Source: GE Healthcare Life Sciences

microcarrier cell culture

Microcarrier technology can reduce culture medium and serum costs by over 50%, decrease labor and lessen the risk of contamination.

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GE Healthcare supplies microcarriers for a wide range of applications for cell immobilization, particularly in the area of eucaryotic cell culture.  Microcarrier technology can reduce culture medium and serum costs by over 50%, decrease labor and lessen the risk of contamination. The entire line of microcarriers from GE Healthcare is thoroughly quality controlled, including a function test on all batches with at least one cell type.

Cytodex 1 and 3
Cytodex microcarriers are based on cross-linked dextran beads. The microporous beads are transparent, spherical and hydrated, and are substituted with positively charged groups. The microcarriers have a mean diameter of 200 µ m and a density of 1.04 g/mL. Their small size allows them to be easily transported through tubing.

Cytodex microcarriers are designed for use in stirred tank cultures – homogeneous environments for cell growth in which culture parameters are easily monitored and controlled. Cells grow on the surface of Cytodex, which facilitates inspection, harvesting and infection of the cells. The microporosity of Cytodex enables nutrient supply to all sides of the cells.


  • Culture of truly anchorage-dependent cells, which are used in the production of viral vaccines
  • Production of recombinant proteins 
  • Batch and perfusion systems, stirred cultures, and WAVE Bioreactors to increase the surface area of traditional stationary monolayers and roller cultures

Cytopore 1 and 2
Cytopore microcarriers are hydrophilic DEAE exchangers with a mean diameter of 230 µm and a density of 1.03 g/mL. They are based on a cross-linked cotton cellulose matrix and have an average pore size of 30 µm.

The microcarriers are both macroporous and microporous. Cells can enter the interior of the microcarrier where they are protected from shear forces generated by the stirrer, aeration, spin filter or bubbles created through sparging. The microporosity facilitates nutrient supply to all sides of the cells. Cytopore microcarriers are transparent before reaching higher cell densities and easily transported through tubing.


  • Suitable for the culture of other shear-sensitive cells including some hybridomas, insect cells and even some bacteria
  • Cytopore 1 -  primarily used for the production of recombinant CHO cells in stirred tank cultures 
  • Cytopore 2 - optimized for truly anchoragedependent cells which require a higher charge capacity for optimal cell growth

Cytoline 1
Cytoline microcarriers are based on a matrix of polyethylene and silica. The polyethylene makes the microcarrier hydrophobic while the silica gives it a slightly negative charge. The silica also increases the density of the microcarriers, enabling them to be used in fluidized bed cultures. Cytoline 1 has a density of 1.3 g/mL. Cytoline microcarriers are macroporous with a pore size between 10 and 400 µ m. Cells gain easy access to the interior of Cytoline, where they are protected from shear forces. Since the microcarriers are not microporous, nutrients can only reach the cells through the macroporous structure.

Cytoline microcarriers are lentil-shaped with a length of 2 to 2.5 mm. This size makes their transfer through tubing more difficult, but facilitates their retention in fluidized bed or perfusion cultures.


  • Culture of CHO cells
  • Immobilize insect cells and bacteria
  • Used for the culture of other cells that attach well, are less sensitive to shear forces, and require a high circulation rate in the reactor

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