Cell cultures from marine invertebrates: obstacles, new approaches and recent improvements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The establishment of cell lines from marine invertebrates has been encountered with obstacles. Contrary to insects and arachnids where the development of a variety of cell lines has become routine+ there is no single established cell line from marine invertebrates. This review examines the activity in the field of marine invertebrate cell cultures within the last decade (1988-1998). During this period, attempts (90 peer reviewed studies in addition to many other abstracts, chapters in books, symposia presentations and reports) were limited to a few species within only six phyla (Porifera, Cnidaria, Crustacea, Mollusca, Echinodermata, Urochordata: in addition to freshwater/terrestrial annelids and platyhelminths). These studies which are summarized here+ on one hand indicated ubiquitous problems and on the other, unique characterizations to each phylum studied. Only one-third of the studies revealed cultures of 1 month or longer but most of these were long-term cultures found or suspiciously considered to be contaminated by other unicellular eukaryotic organisms, mainly by thraustochytrids. Three unique approaches/obstacles for marine invertebrate cell cultures (source of cell, cryopreservation and eukaryotic contaminants) are further discussed. The overall impact of recent improvements and developed protocols raises the suggestion for testing different, novel routes in the establishment of cell cultures from marine invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-153
Number of pages21
JournalProgress in Industrial Microbiology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This is part of the research was carried out at the Minerva Center for Marine Invertebrate Immunology and Development Biology and was also supported by the Joint German Israeli project on Biotechnology.


  • Cell lines
  • Marine invertebrates
  • Platyhelminths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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