Antibiotics - solutions and powder
Cell culture media allow not only cells but also foreign germs, such as bacteria or fungi, to grow ideally. This growth of foreign organisms, which is also referred to as “contamination”, results nearly always in the loss of the respective cell culture. Only the preventive use of antibiotics or sterile working conditions may prevent contaminations. Originally, antibiotics was the term for low-molecular metabolites of microorganisms that act as growth inhibitors against other microorganisms or kill the latter. Today, the term antibiotics comprises all substances (also virostatics and chemotherapeutics) that are effective against any type of microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi), no matter if they are of low or high molecular nature or if they were produced synthetically or by the microorganisms themselves.
Antibiotics may be distinguished according to their effectiveness, chemical structure or their action mechanism. Within the framework of cell culture, it is rather effectiveness that is of importance: on the one hand, there are bacteriostatic antibiotics that only inhibit the growth of microorganisms, but do not kill them. On the other hand, there are bactericidal antibiotics, which not only inhibit growth, but additionally kill microorganisms.