Improving Bioprocess Applications with Stable Glutamine

L-glutamine is an amino acid commonly used as an auxilary energy source in cell culture. Specific metabolic roles include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing a non-toxic nitrogen source to cells
  • Providing a nitrogen source for nucleotide synthesis and transamination
  • Providing an alternative energy source when glucose levels are low and energy demands are high 

L-glutamine is typically supplied to a cell culture in excess, approximately 3 to 8-fold greater than other amino acids. Therefore, some degradation of L-Glutamine can be tolerated without adverse effects. Typical concentrations range from 2-10 mM. 

However, it is important to note that L-glutamine can be a relatively unstable molecule depending on the temperature at which it is stored. Lonza data for long-term storage indicates that the L-glutamine concentration is reduced by approximately 3% per month in cell culture media stored at 2-8°C. When stored at 35-37°C, approximately 50% L-glutamine remained after only 3 days. When L-glutamine spontaneously breaks down in solution, it generates ammonia, a cytotoxic metabolite, and pyrrolidine carboxylic acid .  

The more stable counterpart of L-glutamine is the dipeptide L-alanyl-glutamine which Lonza produces under the name UltraGlutamineTM I Supplement . UltraGlutamineTM I Supplement can be autoclaved (121°C, 20 min) with no significant breakdown. UltraGlutamineTM I Supplement can substitute L-glutamine on an equimolar basis with little to no adaptation for adherent and suspension cultures. Growth performance of most cell types is comparable to that obtained with L-glutamine without toxic ammonia accumulation in the culture. Some cells are sensitive to ammonia even at non-toxic levels.

Applications that benefit from UltraGlutamineTM I Supplement are:

  • Ammonia sensitive systems (bioreactors)
  • Long term toxicity studies
  • Long incubations without feeding (cloning assays)

In fact, customer feedback indicates a preference for alanyl-glutamine (UltraGlutamine► I Supplement) over L-glutamine for increased stability in their media and more robust performance of their bioprocesses. Be sure to try it out for yourself.

For technical questions related to this product, please contact our Scientific Support Team

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EU: +49 221 99199 400,

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