Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Dark cell culture
This image is from this Jstor article http://www.jstor.org/stable/3651440
I am reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot at the moment. Its a really interesting book about the most widely used and first human cell line HeLas, and the history of the woman they came from and her family's struggles. Last night I read a section about 'the immortal chicken heart' that was grown by Nobel prize winner, and fairly loopy, Alexis Carrel. He believed that light would stop cell culture from working and so had his lab painted black and the staff wear black lab coats, the only light coming from a sky light, as you can see in the picture. This is fairly hilarious from a modern prospective until I remembered that I did something similar a few years ago. We were getting a glutathione drop in our cells and didn't know why and it was suggested that the flavins in the monamine oxidases were reacting to the fluorecent lighting in the cell culture suite. So I did a few experiments in the dark (3am) and under red light! Of course this wasn't the reason at all, and now also hilarious, but it made me laugh and remember last night while I was reading the book! (The reason for the drop was disolved oxygen in the end).