Why do cell cultures (sometimes) foam

Yasha Hartberg YMH4375 at zeus.tamu.edu
Thu Jun 23 15:29:35 EST 1994

Several people in our lab have recently been distressed to find that some
of their liquid cell cultures foam and some do not.  There doesn't seem to
be any consistant reason we can find for this phenomenon.  With one of our
cell lines, two identical liquid cultures can be inoculated from the same
colony and grown for the same length of time under the same conditions and
one culture will foam and another will not.  As far as we can tell, time of
growth, speed of shaking, and composition of media do not seem to matter.

My question then is simply why do cell cultures foam in the first place and
why can two seemingly identical cultures show two different phenotypes?

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this topic for us.

Yasha Hartberg
Texas A&M University

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