Automation of cell cultivation by machine


Cell cultivation is a complex process by which cells are grown under controlled conditions i.e. culturing of cells derived from single cellular eukaryotes, especially animal cells. However, there are also cultures including viruses, bacteria and protists.

Cells are grown and maintained at an appropriate temperature and gas mixture (typically, 37°C, 5% CO2 for mammalian cells) in a cell incubator of plants, fungi and microbes, including viruses, bacteria and protists.

Requirement of cell Cultivation
Cell culture is a very essential process in medical science, the main uses being:

  • Manufacture of viral vaccines and other products of biotechnology,
  • Research in tissue engineering, stem cells and molecular biology,
  • Tissue culture and tissue engineering,
  • Cultivation of mesenchymal stem cells and preservation for future use, the major application being in stem cell industry,
  • Preparation of Vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox etc

Automatic Cell cultures by a machine
Cell culture has always been a time-consuming and laborious job as it is largely done by hand. Fraunhofer Institute and Max Planck Institute have developed a machine that completely automates the process of cultivating cells. The device consists of an array of modules: One of these is a robot that transports the vessels containing the cell cultures, known as multitier plates.

Dr. Albrecht Brandenburg, group manager at IPM describes another module: “A microscope regularly inspects the cells to assess the status and growth of the cultures. It transfers the S.O. plates to the microscope stage, focuses, switches lenses and activates the light sources it needs. The entire optical system...

is designed to withstand and operate in the high-humidity conditions the cells require. The results of microscopic analysis are fed into the system control, a capability never seen in automated cell cultivation before.”

A computer program assesses the microscope images and checks to determine the density of the surface of the vessel already covered in cells. If suitable cell colonies have formed, a hollow needle picks up cells ranging between 100 and 200 micrometers in size and transfers them to a new container.

A cell factory can be established for use in other applications like testing the effectiveness of various drugs. The system being modular, researchers in science and industry can also opt to automate certain steps involved. It will help researchers decode the functions of various proteins by injecting cells with the segment of the human genome that delivers the blueprint for the proteins under investigation.


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