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Concept: Growth medium


Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) are used to study the early stages of human development in vitro and, increasingly due to somatic cell reprogramming, cellular and molecular mechanisms of disease. Cell culture medium is a critical factor for hPSC to maintain pluripotency and self-renewal. Numerous defined culture media have been empirically developed but never systematically optimized for culturing hPSC. We applied design of experiments (DOE), a powerful statistical tool, to improve the medium formulation for hPSC. Using pluripotency and cell growth as read-outs, we determined the optimal concentration of both basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and neuregulin-1 beta 1 (NRG1β1). The resulting formulation, named iDEAL, improved the maintenance and passage of hPSC in both normal and stressful conditions, and affected trimethylated histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3) epigenetic status after genetic reprogramming. It also enhances efficient hPSC plating as single cells. Altogether, iDEAL potentially allows scalable and controllable hPSC culture routine in translational research. Our DOE strategy could also be applied to hPSC differentiation protocols, which often require numerous and complex cell culture media.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Cell biology, Yeast, Cell culture, Growth medium


Microbiologists have been using agar growth medium for over 120 years. It revolutionized microbiology in the 1890’s when microbiologists were seeking effective methods to isolate microorganisms, which led to the successful cultivation of microorganisms as single clones. But there has been a disparity between total cell counts and cultivable cell counts on plates, often referred to as the “great plate count anomaly”, that has long been a phenomenon that still remains unsolved. Here we report that a common practice microbiologists have been employing to prepare agar medium has a hidden pitfall: when phosphate was autoclaved together with agar to prepare solid growth media (PT medium), total colony counts were remarkably lower when compared with those grown on agar plates in which phosphate and agar were separately autoclaved and mixed right before solidification (PS medium). We used a pure culture Gemmatimonas aurantiaca T-27(T) and three representative sources of environmental samples, soil, sediment and water, as inocula and compared colony counts between PT and PS agar plates. There were higher numbers of colony forming units (CFUs) on PS medium compared to PT medium using G. aurantiaca or any of the environmental samples. Chemical analysis of PT agar plates suggested that hydrogen peroxide was contributing to growth inhibition. Comparison of 454 pyrosequences of the environmental samples to the isolates revealed that taxa grown on PS medium were more reflective of the original community structure than those grown on PT medium. Moreover, more hitherto-uncultivated microbes grew on PS than on PT medium.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Microbiology, Agar, Agar plate, XLD agar, Growth medium, Petri dish


Textured surfaces with periodic topographical features and long-range order are highly attractive for directing cell-material interactions. They mimic physiological environments more accurately than planar surfaces and can fundamentally alter cell alignment, shape, gene expression, and cellular assembly into superstructures or microtissues. Here we demonstrate for the first time that wrinkled graphene-based surfaces are suitable as textured cell attachment substrates, and that engineered wrinkling can dramatically alter cell alignment and morphology. The wrinkled surfaces are fabricated by graphene oxide wet deposition onto pre-stretched elastomers followed by relaxation and mild thermal treatment to stabilize the films in cell culture medium. Multilayer graphene oxide films form periodic, delaminated buckle textures whose wavelengths and amplitudes can be systematically tuned by variation in the wet deposition process. Human and murine fibroblasts attach to these textured films and remain viable, while developing pronounced alignment and elongation relative to those on planar graphene controls. Compared to lithographic patterning of nanogratings, this method has advantages in the simplicity and scalability of fabrication, as well as the opportunity to couple the use of topographic cues with the unique conductive, adsorptive, or barrier properties of graphene materials for functional biomedical devices.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Cell, Bacteria, Cell culture, Topography, Growth medium, Topographic map


The practice of counting bacterial colony forming units on agar plates has long been used as a method to estimate the concentration of live bacteria in culture. However, due to the laborious and potentially error prone nature of this measurement technique, an alternative method is desirable. Recent technologic advancements have facilitated the development of automated colony counting systems, which reduce errors introduced during the manual counting process and recording of information. An additional benefit is the significant reduction in time taken to analyse colony counting data. Whilst automated counting procedures have been validated for a number of microorganisms, the process has not been successful for all bacteria due to the requirement for a relatively high contrast between bacterial colonies and growth medium. The purpose of this study was to validate an automated counting system for use with group A Streptococcus (GAS).

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Bacteria, Microbiology, Streptococcus, Validation, Number, Natural number, Growth medium


Over a third of oral bacteria are as-yet-uncultivated in-vitro. Siderophores have been previously shown to enable in-vitro growth of previously uncultivated bacteria. The objective of this study was to cultivate novel oral bacteria in siderophore-supplemented culture media. Various compounds with siderophore activity, including pyoverdines-Fe-complex, desferricoprogen and salicylic acid, were found to stimulate the growth of difficult-to-culture strains Prevotella sp. HOT-376 and Fretibacterium fastidiosum. Furthermore, pyrosequencing analysis demonstrated increased proportions of the as-yet-uncultivated phylotypes Dialister sp. HOT-119 and Megasphaera sp. HOT-123 on mixed culture plates supplemented with siderophores. Therefore a culture model was developed, which incorporated 15 μg siderophore (pyoverdines-Fe-complex or desferricoprogen) or 150 μl neat subgingival-plaque suspension into a central well on agar plates that were inoculated with heavily-diluted subgingival-plaque samples from subjects with periodontitis. Colonies showing satellitism were passaged onto fresh plates in co-culture with selected helper strains. Five novel strains, representatives of three previously-uncultivated taxa (Anaerolineae bacterium HOT-439, the first oral taxon from the Chloroflexi phylum to have been cultivated; Bacteroidetes bacterium HOT-365; and Peptostreptococcaceae bacterium HOT-091) were successfully isolated. All novel isolates required helper strains for growth, implying dependence on a biofilm lifestyle. Their characterisation will further our understanding of the human oral microbiome.

Concepts: Bacteria, Agriculture, Microbiology, Fungus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, In vitro, Agar plate, Growth medium


The type of bacterial culture medium is an important consideration during design of any experimental protocol. The aim of this study was to understand the impact of medium choice on bacterial gene expression and physiology by comparing the transcriptome of Salmonella enterica SL1344 after growth in the widely used LB broth or the rationally designed MOPS minimal medium. Transcriptomics showed that after growth in MOPS minimal media, compared to LB, there was increased expression of 42 genes involved in amino acid synthesis and 23 genes coding for ABC transporters. Seven flagellar genes had decreased expression after growth in MOPS minimal medium and this correlated with a decreased motility. In both MOPS minimal medium and MEM expression of genes from SPI-2 was increased and the adhesion of S. Typhimurium to intestinal epithelial cells was higher compared to the levels after growth in LB. However, SL1344 invasion was not significantly altered by growth in either MOPs minimal media or MEM. Expression of SPI-2 was also measured using chromosomal GFP reporter fusions followed by flow cytometry which showed, for the first time, that the reduction in SPI-2 transcript after growth in different media related to a reduction in the proportion of the bacterial population expressing SPI-2. These data highlight the profound differences in the global transcriptome after in vitro growth in different media and show that choice of medium should be considered carefully during experimental design, particularly when virulence related phenotypes are being measured.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Bacteria, Evolution, Microbiology, Salmonella enterica, Growth medium


High-mass-resolution imaging mass spectrometry promises to localize hundreds of metabolites in tissues, cell cultures, and agar plates with cellular resolution, but it is hampered by the lack of bioinformatics tools for automated metabolite identification. We report pySM, a framework for false discovery rate (FDR)-controlled metabolite annotation at the level of the molecular sum formula, for high-mass-resolution imaging mass spectrometry ( We introduce a metabolite-signal match score and a target-decoy FDR estimate for spatial metabolomics.

Concepts: Bioinformatics, Metabolism, Mass spectrometry, Metabolite, Metabolomics, Functional genomics, Growth medium, Metabolome


Identification of sensitive and specific biomarkers with clinical and translational utility will require smart experimental strategies that would augment expanding the breadth and depth of molecular measurements within the constraints of currently available technologies. Exosomes represent an information rich matrix to discern novel disease mechanisms that are thought to contribute to pathologies such as dementia and cancer. Although proteomics and transcriptomic studies have been reported using Exosomes-Like Vesicles (ELVs) from different sources, exosomal metabolome characterization and its modulation in health and disease remains to be elucidated. Here we describe methodologies for UPLC-ESI-MS based small molecule profiling of ELVs from human plasma and cell culture media. In this study, we present evidence that indeed ELVs carry a rich metabolome that could not only augment the discovery of low abundance biomarkers but may also help explain the molecular basis of disease progression. This approach could be easily translated to other studies seeking to develop predictive biomarkers that can subsequently be used with simplified targeted approaches.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Disease, Molecule, Cell culture, Proteomics, Metabolomics, Growth medium


In this study, eight commercially available, chemically defined Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell culture media from different vendors were evaluated in batch culture using an IgG-producing CHO DG44 cell line as a model. Medium adaptation revealed that the occurrence of even small aggregates might be a good indicator of cell growth performance in subsequent high cell density cultures. Batch experiments confirmed that the culture medium has a significant impact on bioprocess performance, but high amino acid concentrations alone were not sufficient to ensure superior cell growth and high antibody production. However, some key amino acids that were limiting in most media could be identified. Unbalanced glucose and amino acids led to high cell-specific lactate and ammonium production rates. In some media, persistently high glucose concentrations probably induced the suppression of respiration and oxidative phosphorylation, known as Crabtree effect, which resulted in high cell-specific glycolysis rates along with a continuous and high lactate production. In additional experiments, two of the eight basal media were supplemented with feeds from two different manufacturers in six combinations, in order to understand the combined impact of media and feeds on cell metabolism in a CHO fed-batch process. Cell growth, nutrient consumption and metabolite production rates, antibody production, and IgG quality were evaluated in detail. Concentrated feed supplements boosted cell concentrations almost threefold and antibody titers up to sevenfold. Depending on the fed-batch strategy, fourfold higher peak cell concentrations and eightfold increased IgG titers (up to 5.8 g/L) were achieved. The glycolytic flux was remarkably similar among the fed-batches; however, substantially different specific lactate production rates were observed in the different media and feed combinations. Further analysis revealed that in addition to the feed additives, the basal medium can make a considerable contribution to the ammonium metabolism of the cells. The glycosylation of the recombinant antibody was influenced by the selection of basal medium and feeds. Differences of up to 50 % in the monogalacto-fucosylated (G1F) and high mannose fraction of the IgG were observed.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Amino acid, Metabolism, Yeast, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Growth medium


Currently available human tumour cell line panels consist of a small number of lines in each lineage that generally fail to retain the phenotype of the original patient tumour. Here we develop a cell culture medium that enables us to routinely establish cell lines from diverse subtypes of human ovarian cancers with >95% efficiency. Importantly, the 25 new ovarian tumour cell lines described here retain the genomic landscape, histopathology and molecular features of the original tumours. Furthermore, the molecular profile and drug response of these cell lines correlate with distinct groups of primary tumours with different outcomes. Thus, tumour cell lines derived using this methodology represent a significantly improved platform to study human tumour pathophysiology and response to therapy.

Concepts: Cell, Cancer, Oncology, Cell biology, Cell culture, Tumor, Neoplasm, Growth medium