BOT101 - Cell Culture Techniques

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 11:36:15.943
Last review date 2018-07-20 11:36:22.347

Subject Title
Cell Culture Techniques

Subject Description
The course teaches students the application of cell culture techniques in biotechnology. Topics include;  overview; tissue (eukaryotic cells) and microbial (prokaryotic cells) culture methods; aseptic techniques, conditions and procedures for working in different containment levels; methods for storage, maintenance and growth of tissues and micro-organisms; examples of applications in health care, pharmaceutical R&D and environmental  monitoring; introduction to laboratory and industrial fermentation technologies; theory and laboratory practices.

Credit Status

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Describe tissue and microbial culture techniques and its application as it related to different biotechnology industrial sectors.
  2. Use aseptic techniques for working in biosafety levels 1 and 2 conditions.
  3. Preparation of culture media for establishment of cell and microbial cultures.
  4. Maintain tissue and microbial cultures, prepare frozen stocks.
  5. Determine cell viability and growth rate.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

BOT100- Introduction to Applied Biotechnology

Topic Outline
Week 1: test and assignment dates; review of safety laboratory rules; conditions for working with cell cultures, biosafety levels and aseptic techniques; WHMIS review; eukaryotic cell culture techniques; nutritional and physical requirements; common culture media and reagents required for cultivation of cell lines. Laboratory: working in Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) conditions; safe laboratory practices, use of biological safety cabinets; preparation of cell culture media for animal, insect and plant cell lines; maintenance and storage conditions; sub-culturing adherent cells and cells in suspension, initiation of cell cultures for class experimentation.

Week 2: use of cell culture techniques: cellular and molecular biology, effects of drugs and toxic compounds; mutagenesis and carcinogenesis; drug screening and manufacturing of biological products. Laboratory: macroscopic and microscopic examination of cell cultures; morphology of different cells in culture; evaluation of cell viability, detection of bacterial and fungal contamination using commercially available kits; determination of cell number by manual and automated techniques; preparation of fresh cultures and culture stocks; initiation of cell cultures from frozen stocks for future laboratory sessions.

Week 3: commercially available laboratory diagnostic tests using cell cultures: presentation by an invited industrial scientist; cell division and growth cycle of eukaryotic cells. Laboratory: evaluation and monitor of cell proliferation and cell viability for in vitro cytotoxicity tests: effect of environmental toxins and anti-cancer agents on cell replication and viability.

Week 4: student presentations: cell culture applications in different biotechnology sectors. Laboratory: Identification of cell components by fluorescent microscopy: preparation of microscope slides, incubation with different fluorescent probes; introduction to fluorocytometric analysis. 

Week 5: laboratory test. Laboratory: review of results of previous exercise.

Week 6: microbiological culture; laboratory conditions for working with microorganisms, levels of containment; growth and nutritional requirements; liquid and solid culture media; commercially available culture media and reagents required for cultivation of microbes; morphology and staining characteristics, bacterial and fungal cells; classification based on nutritional and physical conditions requirements. Laboratory: Preparation of culture media; microscopic observation of stained preparations of bacteria and fungi, subculture to broths and slopes, streak plate technique; simple and Gram-stain methods.

Week 7: cell division and growth cycle of microorganisms; quantitative measurement of bacterial growth; introduction to laboratory and industrial fermentation. Laboratory:  direct microscopic and electronic enumeration of microorganisms; viable cell count, determination of bacterial growth by densitometry.

Week 8: fundamentals and methods of bacterial growth control: physical and chemical methods. Laboratory: antibiotic susceptibility testing by disk diffusion; determination of the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antimicrobials on bacterial and fungal cultures.

Week 9: student presentations: examples of applications of microbial cell cultures in different biotechnology sectors. Laboratory: microbiological analysis of food and water.

Week 10: laboratory test and final exam.

Mode of Instruction
Lectures, Laboratory, Tutorials, Assignment Presentations, Discussions Handouts by Instructor

Prescribed Texts

Reference Material
Reference to library textbooks, Laboratory experiment notes in form of procedures and reports

Required Supplies
Laboratory coat, safety glasses

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

  • Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on which they are due.
  • A late penalty of 10% per day is assessed for late assignments, including those not handed in at the beginning of class when due.
  • Material will not be accepted after one week following the due date and/or when the marked material is returned to students, whichever comes first.
  • Assignments are to be prepared by computer or may be legibly hand-written copy.

Absenteeism and Exams/Quizzes
  • Students should be aware that absenteeism almost guarantees an inability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • Students who are absent for an examination due to an emergency (e.g., motor vehicle accident, hospitalization or death in the family) may provide official documentation within five days of the missed exam and be provided a deferred exam at a later date.  Official documentation includes a death notice or an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time expected absence and the specific reason for the absence.  Examinations missed without official documentation and approval result in a grade of zero.
  • There are no deferred options for missed quizzes.  The value of missed quizzes, at the discretion of the Faculty, will be added to other evaluation components.

English Proficiency
  • All written work should demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:
-writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
-spelling and punctuation are correct
-sentences are structured correctly
-main ideas are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
-work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs
-work is arranged in correct format (e.g., as a report, essay)
-up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all work if the above English competencies are not met.

Format for Assignments
  • Students must use the standard, APA style for quoting sources.   Help is available at:

Laboratory Attendance
The laboratory component is essential and therefore it is strongly recommended that you attend all labs.  Any missed labs must be supported with a legal document with three days of the lab.  Any student who fails to attend more than 2 laboratory classes for a 10 week subject will not pass the subject.    

Laboratory Safety
Students are required to review and understand the safety procedures and guidelines outlined on the first class and sign the sheet to this effect before beginning work in the laboratory.  Students must also wear a lab coat and safety glasses when conducting experiments.
A student who arrives without the proper safety equipment will not be permitted to participant in the lab but will be asked to leave the class.  The student will receive no grade for the lab missed.

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:
Quizzes 20%
Laboratory tests 40%
Assignment 10%
Final Exam 30%


Other Evaluation Considerations
The student is expected to comply with the Safety Rules for working in the laboratory, sign the safety contract, and WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WEAR CONTACT LENSES in the laboratory. The student will know where all safety equipment is located in the laboratory and will be familiar with WHIMIS concepts and signage.


Approved by: Denis Gravelle