Counting cell number in situ by quantification of dimethyl sulphide in culture headspace
A novel, non-invasive technique is reported for determining the numbers of cells in a culture by quantifying dimethyl sulphide (DMS) in the culture headspace as produced by the cellular enzymatic reduction of dissolved dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO). Measured DMS concentrations, as performed using selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS), in the headspace of 2D and 3D cultures of four cell lines, viz. HEK293 (kidney), MG63 (bone), hepG2 (liver) and CALU-1 (lung), linearly correlate with starting cell number. Clear differences in the rates of production of DMS by the four cell types in both the 2D and 3D situations are seen. This novel analytical technique for cell enumeration offers a significant contribution to quality assessment across cell-based research and industry, including analysis of large scale culture systems, and for routine cell biology research.