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Are cells on agar or in agar?

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Are cells on agar or in agar?

Postby okay » Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:32 am

Hello dear forum members

Unfortunately I could not find any information in the internet about this question: Usually bacteria are seeded on agar in order to let them differentiate. But what happens if I take cells (eg. fibroblasts) instead of bacteria? And what if I mix the cells into the agar instead of just seeding them on it? Would the cells adhere and proliferate within the agar or would they only proliferate on the surface?

Thanks in advance for your answers!
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Re: Are cells on agar or in agar?

Postby claudepa » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:58 pm

In soft agar only tumorigenic eukaryotic cells will form colonies. This is a classical in vitro test to detect tumorigenic cells. However a better test is in vivo by grafting the cells to nude mice (which do not reject grafts) for instance.
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Re: Are cells on agar or in agar?

Postby okay » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:34 pm

Thank you for your reply!

You said only tumor cells form colonies in soft agar. Does this also work for "more solid" agar? Do they form colonies on the surface of the agar or do they also go inside?

Kind regards
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Postby chemnorm » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:11 am

the cells adhere and proliferate within the agar
good luck!
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Re: Are cells on agar or in agar?

Postby okay » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:42 am

Thank you for your reply!

So, if they adhere and proliferate, does that mean that they also migrate?
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Re: Are cells on agar or in agar?

Postby chemnorm » Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:20 am

okay wrote:Thank you for your reply!

So, if they adhere and proliferate, does that mean that they also migrate?

They don't move, they form a colony.
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Re: Are cells on agar or in agar?

Postby claudepa » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:45 pm

tumorigenic eukaryotic cell form colonies in soft agar. However I do not believe that non tumorigenic (and even tumorigenic) do it in more solid agar. If cells grow on or inside solid agar why are we all using culture medium ? Bacteria grow inside soft agar and on solid agar. Am I wrong ?
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Re: Are cells on agar or in agar?

Postby Fornita » Tue May 17, 2016 2:40 am

claudepa wrote:tumorigenic eukaryotic cell form colonies in soft agar. However I do not believe that non tumorigenic (and even tumorigenic) do it in more solid agar. If cells grow on or inside solid agar why are we all using culture medium ? Bacteria grow inside soft agar and on solid agar. Am I wrong ?


We use different culture medium for different purposes. When I use liquid culture medium, I want the cell proliferate quickly and easy to deal with. When I use soft agar I want the cell to form colonies to test the proliferation rate differences.
And some bacteria can also grow in the solid agar.
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